Office Of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid M.S.Al-Hakeem - Books-Islamic Laws Simplified - Prayers

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PRAYERS
 
 
Prayer is the first of the pillars of religion and its greatest after faith, and it is the connection between the person and his Lord. If it is accepted all else is accepted, and if it is rejected all else it is rejected.
 
It is amongst the most important of the obligations ordained upon mankind; this obligation requires us to observe it abidingly, and we are encouraged to perform it at the start of the prescribed times; we must perform them with sincerity and fulfilling all the conditions. As the narration states: “The prayer is the pillar of Islam. If it is accepted, all else is accepted, and if it is rejected, all else is rejected.” This means that if the prayer is not accepted from a person, due to his failure to fulfill any of its conditions, or him being negligent in respect to it, all of his other acts of worship will also be rejected; and if he performed the prayer in its correct manner, seeking greater proximity to Allah Almighty, all his action will also be accepted, and his rewards will be abundant.
 
In another narration from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his holy progeny), he said: “Allah, may His remembrance be elevated, swore on His own glory, that He will not punish the performers of the prayers and the prostrations, and that He will not scare them from the fire of Hell, on the day that all mankind will be made stand for judgment before the Lord of the Worlds.”
 
In a narration from Imam al-Baqir (peace be upon him) he said: “Do not be neglectful in your prayers, as the Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) said at the approach of his death: He who disregards prayer is not from me, and he will not come to me at the Pond (of Kawthar), by Allah he won’t.”
 
Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) is reported to have said when death approached him: “Our intercession will not be obtained by the one who disregards the prayer.”
So, if Allah Almighty does not accept our acts of worship, and the Prophet and the Imams (peace be upon them all) refuse to intercede for us on the Day of Resurrection, how will we obtain safety and salvation?
 
If this is the fate of the one being neglectful and disregarding of the prayers, then what will be the state of the person abandoning the prayers? How great will be his punishment?!
 
We should contemplate about the difference on the Day of Resurrection between those who pray and those who do not pray, as expressed in the Holy Quran: “And those who guard over their prayers, they will be in the heavens honored.” (Al-Ma’arij: 34-5) and in another verse: “In the heavens they will ask about the guilty ones (in Hell): What led you all to Hell? They will say: We were not amongst those who prayed.” (Al-Muddatthir: 40-43).
 
In this era – i.e. the time of the Occultation of the Imam (peace be upon him) – the obligatory prayers as originally legislated are: the daily prayers (amongst which is the Friday prayer), the prayer of signs, the prayer on the dead, and the prayer of tawaf. The rest are recommended prayers, some of which become obligatory at times due to being hired to perform prayers, or as a result of a vow, and the like.
 
 
The Daily Prayers and their Timings
 
 
Ruling 145: The following five prayers are compulsory in the day and night:
 
(1) Fajr prayer (2 units), and its time is from dawn break to sunrise.
 
(2) and (3) Dhuhr prayer (4 units), and Asr prayer (4 units), and their time is from zawal – the time halfway between sunrise and sunset – to sunset. On Friday, one can choose between performing Dhuhr or Friday prayers, as long as the conditions of the Friday prayer are fulfilled, as will be explained later.
 
(4) and (5) Maghrib prayer (3 units), and Isha prayer (4 units), and their time is from sunset until the middle of the night – which is half way between sunset and dawn break. And whoever is forced to delay them till after that – or does so on purpose or due to haydh, as an obligatory precaution – he should perform them before dawn break with the intention of fulfilling one’s current obligation without specifying whether it is within time or beyond it (qadha).
 
Ruling 146: It is permissible to perform the two afternoon prayers and the two night prayers together, even in the beginning of their prescribed times. However, the Dhuhr prayer must be offered before the Asr prayer, and the Maghrib prayer must be offered before the Isha prayer.
 
Ruling 147: It is highly recommended to hasten to recite the prayers at the beginning of their prescribed times, and it is highly disliked to delay it.
 
Ruling 148: The setting in of the time of the prayer is established by either one of three ways:
(1)   One having sure knowledge himself;
(2)   The testimony of two adil men who base it on sensory perception, i.e. not on hearsay, prayer timetables, etc.
(3)   The adhan of someone reliable and knowing.
 
Ruling 149: Whoever performs his prayer before the setting in of its prescribed time, his prayer is void, except if he believed the time to have set in and it happens to actually set in before he had completed the prayer – in which case it is valid.
 
Ruling 150: It is recommended to also perform the daily supererogatory prayers, which are as follows:
(1)   Supererogatory prayer of Fajr, (2 units) to be performed before the obligatory prayer of Fajr, and its time begins at the start of the last sixth of the night, until the rising of the redness in the east. Then once the redness rises, it is preferred to delay it till after the obligatory prayer.
 
(2)   Supererogatory prayer of Dhuhr, (8 units) to be performed before the obligatory prayer of Dhuhr, and its time is from zawal until the length of the shadow of a vertical stick reaches approximately 2/7 of the actual stick’s length.
 
(3)   Supererogatory prayer of Asr, (8 units) to be performed before the obligatory prayer of Asr, and its time begins from the completion of the Dhuhr prayer until the shadow of the aforementioned stick reaches approximately 4/7 of the actual stick’s length.
 
Note: It is permissible to perform the supererogatory prayers of Dhuhr and Asr before zawal, although it is preferable to perform them as explained above except on Friday.
 
(4)   Supererogatory prayer of Maghrib, (4 units) to be performed after the obligatory prayer of Maghrib until the middle of the night – which is explained previously.
 
(5)   Supererogatory prayer of Isha, (2 units) to be performed in the sitting manner after the obligatory prayer of Isha, until the middle of the night as an obligatory precaution.
 
(6)   Supererogatory prayer of the night, which consists of eight units, then two units of shaf’, then one unit of witr, and its time is from the middle of the night until dawn break.
 
Ruling 151: It is permissible to perform recommended prayers if one is required to perform an obligatory prayer, whether the latter is within its time or the time has lapsed. But if the time for the obligatory prayer is constrained, then he must hasten to perform it.
 
 
Prerequisites of the Prayer
 
(1) Direction (Qibla)
 
The qibla for prayer is the noble Ka’bah, and whatever is directly above it and below it from the earth to the heavens. It is obligatory to face the qibla in the obligatory prayers and whatever one is obligated to perform after it, such as the prayer of precaution, and similarly in the prostrations of forgetfulness based on an obligatory precaution. Recommended prayers can be performed while walking or riding or the like, but if one performs them standing still, then facing the qibla is required.
 
Ruling 152: The qibla is established by two ways:
(1)   by knowing its direction oneself; or
(2)   by the testimony of two adil men who base it on sensory perception.
 
If these two ways are unavailable, it is sufficient to rely upon the direction that the Muslims take when offering their prayers and slaughtering the animals, and the like. If one cannot obtain such evidence, he should exert his effort to obtain satisfaction, and if even this is not possible, it is sufficient to offer the prayer once to any probable direction; it is better in the latter case to offer the prayer in all the four directions.
 
Ruling 153: Whoever offers his prayer in a direction that he believed to be qibla, or it has been established by one of the ways mentioned above, and after he has completed the prayer he came to know that he did not pray in the right direction, then if his prayer was with a deviation of within ninety degrees from the correct direction the prayer is valid. If he came to know of such deviation during prayer, he should correct his direction towards qibla and continue praying. However, if his deviation was more than this and the time for the prayer has not yet expired, then the prayer is invalid and he should repeat it. If the time has lapsed, then he is not required to repeat his prayer.
 
(2) Clothing of the Person Praying
 
Ruling 154: It is obligatory for men, during the prayer, to cover their private parts, which are the male reproductive organs and the anal opening. The woman must cover her entire body except the face, the two hands, and the two feet, and the obligatory precaution is that she covers her feet if there is a non-mahram person present. The girl who has not yet begun her monthly menstruations – even if she has reached the age of adulthood – can reveal her neck and head while praying. As an obligatory precaution, the material used to cover the body must be that of cloth and clothing, when possible.
 
Ruling 155: If a person does not fulfil the obligatory covering as explained above due to ignorance or forgetfulness, and then realizes after having finished the prayer, his prayer is valid. However, if he realizes during the prayer, and at that time he was covered sufficiently, his prayer is valid, even if he knows that he was not sufficiently covered prior to such realization. However, if one was not sufficiently covered when he came to the realization, then his prayer is void as an obligatory precaution, and he should break his prayer and repeat it.
 
Ruling 156: For the prayer to be valid, the following conditions in respect to the clothing of the one praying must be fulfilled:
 
(1) His clothing during the prayer must be lawful, i.e. not usurped. So, if a person knows that his clothing is usurped, then the prayer is void. However, if one does not know that the clothing by which he covers his body in prayers is usurped, and he comes to know of this after he has completed the prayer, his past prayers are valid, but he cannot wear the same clothing for any future prayers.
 
(2) His clothing should not be made from the skin of animals not slaughtered in accordance to the Sharia laws. This includes the leathers that come from non-Muslim lands. So, even the straps of the wrist watches, if they are made of such leathers, one cannot pray wearing it, and the same is the case for leather belts, and other clothing which have patches of leather sewn onto them.
 
(3) His clothing should not be from the parts of animals which are forbidden to eat, including their skins, hairs and furs. In fact, even if a few hairs from a cat, for example, stick to ones clothes and body, his prayer is invalid based on an obligatory precaution.
 
Ruling 157:If one does not know whether certain leather is natural or artificial, then he can pray wearing it, because he does not know it to be from an animal.
 
(4) and (5) Men’s clothing should not include gold and natural silk, while this is permissible for women.
 
(6) His clothing should be tahir. Therefore, one’s prayer in najis clothing is void. Similarly, the body should not be najis either. However, there are a number of exceptions to this, the most important being the following three:
(a)   The blood of wounds and pus mixed with blood on the body and clothes, as well as medication applied on wounds – as long as the wound has not healed, it is permissible to pray with it, and it is not obligatory to remove the blood and to make the place tahir
 
(b)   A small amount of blood on the clothes – except for the blood of nifas and haydh as an obligatory precaution – if the amount of blood does not exceed the area of a circle of the diameter of 2.3 cm as an obligatory precaution. As for the small amount of blood on the body – apart from the case explained in the first exception above – the obligatory precaution is to make it tahir.
 
(c)   The clothing and the small things worn which do not suffice in themselves to cover the private parts of the man, like a ring or a sock, as it is permitted to pray with them on if they become najis. However, it will not be permitted if it is made from a corpse of an animal not slaughtered according the laws of the Sharia, or from an originally najis animal like a pig. As an obligatory precaution, if it is from an animal that is not lawful to eat, it is not permitted either.
 
(3) The Place of Performing Prayers
 
Ruling 158: It is forbidden to pray in a place or space which is usurped and the prayer becomes void if one is aware of that, except for one who is confined to such a place, as long as his usage of the place for the prayer does not cause the place any damage more than what is usually expected due to his confinement there.
 
Ruling 159: The mosques and the holy shrines are public places for all the Muslims, so one who reaches a place first has greater right to it and it is not permissible to remove him from it forcibly.
 
Ruling 160: It is permissible for a woman and man to pray in one place, whether she is adjacent, behind or in front of the man. However, it is highly disliked for her to do so, except in the following cases:
(1)   She is behind him even if only to the extent of his chest – such that if they both are prostrating, her head is adjacent to his knees.
(2)   If there is a barrier between them such as a wall.
(3)   If there is a distance of five meters between them; then, the more closer she gets to the man, the more disliked it is.
 
Ruling 161: It is not permissible for one to pray while the grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) or one of the Imams (peace be upon them) is directly behind him. However it is permissible for him to pray with their grave behind him if it is to the side, such that he is not conventionally seen to be praying with the grave to his back. This ruling only applies to the building which houses the grave.
 
Ruling 162: The place where the forehead is placed in prostration – as well as being tahir – must be of earth or that which grows from it other than that which is eaten or worn. Therefore, prostration is permissible on paper which is made from that which is permissible to be prostrated upon. The prayer is not valid if one prostrates on something which is not called earth, even if it is something which is mined – like tar.
 
Ruling 163: In the case of taqiyyah (dissimulation), it is permissible to prostrate on that which is not valid to prostrate upon on usual circumstances.
 
Ruling 164: If it is not possible to prostrate on that which prostration is valid, due to a reason other than taqiyyah, i.e. not having access to it at the time and place he wishes to pray, prostration can be done on the clothing; the obligatory precaution is to give preference to cotton and flax; if it is not possible on the clothing then on the back of the hand.
 
Ruling 165: If one prostrates on that which is not permissible to be prostrated upon, out of ignorance or forgetfulness, and he becomes aware of that after having completed the prostration, his prayer is correct.
 
Ruling 166: The forehead in prostration must be placed in a manner that it is fixed and unmoving, and this is necessary for the place of the one praying in general too, such that the stillness required in prayer can be attained.
 
Ruling 167: Prayer in the mosques is recommended, as well as at the graves of the Imams (peace be upon them); it is disliked to abstain from the mosque, especially for its neighbour.
 
Ruling 168: It is disliked to perform the prayer in the bathroom, in every place which is filthy, and in a room in which there is intoxicant, or there is fire in front of him or an open book even if it is the Quran or a picture of something which has a soul. Similarly it is disliked to pray on the roads as long as it does not cause a problem for passers-by; otherwise, if it does cause them a problem, it is not permissible. .
 
(4) The Adhan and Iqamah
 
Ruling 169: The adhan and iqamah are recommended in the daily obligatory prayers, especially for the men. However, they have not been legislated for the recommended prayers or for the other obligatory prayers.
 
Ruling 170: It is sufficient to recite the adhan once when one is performing two prayers together. In fact, it is not legislated for the Asr prayer in Arafat or for the Isha prayer in Muzdalifah during the pilgrimage, if they are performed together with the Dhuhr or Maghrib prayers.
 
Ruling 171: When the incontinent person is required to perform two prayers together with one wudhu, it is not permissible for him to recite the adhan for the second prayer. If he did, then he must repeat the wudhu for the second prayer. The same is the case for the woman in the state of major istihadha, based on an obligatory precaution.
 
Ruling 172: The adhan and iqama are not legislated in a number of instances, for example:
(1)   When one enters into a congregational prayer for which adhan and iqama have already been recited.
(2)   When one enters into a place in which there is a congregational prayer for which the adhan and iqama have been recited, and the congregation has not yet dispersed, provided that the congregational prayer is valid. And the obligatory precaution is to limit this to the situation where one’s prayer and the congregational prayer are both obligatory prayers being performed in their prescribed time.
(3)   When one hears the adhan and iqama of someone else, even if both of them pray individual prayers, provided that one is a male and the reciter of the adhan or iqamaadhan or iqamah is also a male, as an obligatory precaution.
 
Ruling 173: The parts of the adhan are eighteen:
(1)   Allahu Akbar – Allah is the Greatest (4 times)
(2)   Ash’hadu anla Ilaha Illallah – I bear witness that there is no god but Allah (twice)
(3)   Ash’hadu anna Muhammadan-Rasulullah – I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah (twice)
(4)   Hayya alas-Salah – Hasten to prayer (twice)
(5)   Hayya alal-Falah – Hasten to success (twice)
(6)   Hayya ala Khayril-Amal – Hasten to the best of deeds (twice)
(7)   Allahu Akbar – Allah is the Greatest (twice)
(8)   La Ilaha Illallah – There is no god but Allah (twice)
 
And the parts of the iqamah are like those of adhan, except that ‘Allahu Akbar’ is recited only twice, and that ‘La Ilaha Illallah’ at the end is recited once. Also, ‘Qad Qamatis-Salah’ (Prayer has been established) is added twice after ‘Hayya Ala Khayril-Amal’.
 
Ruling 174: It is preferable also to declare the guardianship and commandership of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) over the believers after the two testimonies, except that it is not a part of the adhan nor the iqama.
 
Ruling 175: It is recommended for both the reciter and the listener to invoke the blessings of Allah on the Prophet and his progeny (salawat) after the second testimony in the adhan and whenever his name is mentioned.
 
Ruling 176: The following conditions apply in the validity of the adhan and iqama:
(1)   One should form the intention to recite the adhan or iqama with intending to obtain proximity to Allah Almighty, specifying the prayer for which he is reciting it as an obligatory precaution.
(2)   The reciter should be sane and a believer.
(3)   The reciter should be male, as an obligatory precaution. However a woman’s adhan or iqama is sufficient for women.
(4)   The recite should adhere to the correct sequence between the parts of the adhan and the iqamah, as well as reciting the adhan before the iqamah.
(5)   As an obligatory precaution, there should be continuity between the parts of each of the adhan and the iqamah and between the adhan and the iqamah themselves, and between the iqamahand the prayer.
(6)   They should be recited in the Arabic language. Its translation will not suffice.
The time of the prayer should have entered before beginning the recitation, even with respect to the individual prayer in the case of Fajr as an obligatory precaution.
(7)   Particularly for iqamah, one should be in taharah and standing facing the qibla, although the same is also recommended in the adhan.
 
Ruling 177: It is recommended for the one who forgot to recite the adhan and the iqamah to break the prayer in order to recite them.
 
 
Performing of the Prayers
 
(1) The Intention
 
The intention is obligatory, and it is necessary in it to make the intention of obtaining proximity to Allah Almighty – as mentioned in the chapter on wudhu– and he must specify the prayer which he wishes to perform if there is more than one prayer which he is required to perform.
 
Ruling 178: The prayer which is performed in order for one to be praised or out of fear from the reprimand of people is invalid. One should pay attention to this issue and make sure that the intention is sincere.
 
Ruling 179: It is not permissible to change from one prayer to another except in certain cases, such as the following:
 
(1)   If someone has started Asr or Isha, and then remembers that he had not prayed the Dhuhr or Maghrib prayer; in such a situation one must change the intention;
(2)   If someone started to perform a current prayer with plenty of time to perform it, and then remembered that he is also required to perform a lapsed prayer. He has a choice to either continue with the current prayer, or change the intention to that of the lapsed prayer.
(3)   One can only change the intention in these situations if he has not passed a point beyond which such switching is not possible. For example, if he has begun the fourth unit of Isha prayer, and remembered that he has not performed the Maghrib prayer, he cannot change the intention and his prayer has become void, and therefore he must perform Maghrib prayer from the beginning. But he can change his intention to that of Maghrib prayer if he is still within the first three units of the prayer.
 
(2) The Takbirat-ul-Ihram
 
This is one of the fundamental parts of the prayer, the absence of which makes the prayer void, whether deliberately or forgetfully; repeating it on purpose also makes the prayer void. Its form is ‘Allahu Akbar’ in the proper Arabic manner. Some people recite it mistakenly as “Allah wakbar”, which is wrong.
 
Ruling 180: The takbirat-ul-ihram must be said with clear sound, without going to extreme. It is sufficient if one would hear himself reciting it in normal circumstances, i.e. without load noises around him. It is not sufficient to simply move the tongue.
 
Ruling 181: As an obligatory precaution, one must be still and calm while reciting it, under normal conditions. However, the supererogatory prayers may be performed while walking or riding, as mentioned previously.
 
Ruling 182: As an obligatory precaution, one must be silent for a brief period before it and after it, and not adjoin it to that which is before it or after it.
 
Ruling 183: It is recommended to raise the hands during the takbir.
 
Ruling 184: Whoever doubts whether he recited it or not, or whether it was in a correct manner, and the doubt arises after he has begun the next part of the prayer – e.g. the recitation of Suratul-Fatiha– he should ignore his doubt and continue. If the doubt occurs before he starts the next part of the prayer, then he should recite the takbirat-ul-ihram before continuing.
 
(3) The Standing
 
This is an obligatory part of the obligatory prayers, provided that one is able to do so, unlike the recommended prayers. What is meant by it is that one should be standing on both feet during four situations in the prayer: when reciting the takbirat-ul-ihram, during the recitation of the chapters of the Quran – or the dhikr that is recited in its place –, before the bowing and after the bowing.
 
Ruling 185: It is necessary to stand up straight as much as possible, even by leaning on something else. If one is unable to do so, it is sufficient to stand in any way which is called standing. If he is unable to stand at all, he should pray in the sitting position. If he is unable to sit, he should lie down on his right side, and if that is not possible, then on his left side; in both cases the chest should be facing the qibla. If lying down on the left side is not possible, then one should lie on his back with the soles of the feet facing qibla, and he will make gestures for the bowing and prostrations – by gesturing more lower for the prostration than for the bowing. If he is unable to do this, he will signal with his eyes as an obligatory precaution, just as it is an obligatory precaution to place what is prostrated upon on his forehead along with the signals, even if the gesturing is with the eyes.
 
If one is capable of standing in part of the prayer and not in another part, he must stand as much as he can, and then sit. Then if his ability comes back he must stand again, and so on.
 
(4) The Recitation
 
This refers to the reciting of Suratul-Fatihah (the first chapter of the Holy Quran) and another complete chapter of the Quran – other than the four chapters containing the verses for which prostration is obligatory when recited. And the bismillahis a part of every chapter, except the ninth chapter.
 
Ruling 186: Recitation is necessary in the first and second units of every prayer, whether the prayer itself is obligatory or recommended. In the third and fourth units, one has a choice between reciting Suratul-Fatihah only and reciting the dhikr of “Subhanallahi, wal-Hamdulillahi wa La Ilaha Illallahu, Wallahu Akbar”. If the latter is chosen, it is better to recite it three times and to add the seeking of forgiveness (“Astaghfirullaha Rabbi Wa Atoobu Ilaih”).
 
Ruling 187: It is obligatory to recite in the correct and proper Arabic language, and it is best when joining between words to use the diacritical marks, i.e. the fat’hah, the kasrah and the dhammah. Similarly, it is best to omit them when one stops at a word.
 
Ruling 188: It is obligatory to omit the hamzat-ul-wasl in the course of recitation if it is not separated by a pause from the previous phrase, and one should always pronounce the hamzat-ul-qat’.
 
Ruling 189: The obligatory precaution is to merge the noon sakin and tanween before one of the letters: yaa, raa, mim, lam, wow and noon.
 
Ruling 190: It is obligatory for the men to recite loudly the recitation of the Fajr prayer, and in the first and second units of the Maghrib and Isha prayers.
 
Ruling 191: It is obligatory to recite quietly in the first two units of the Dhuhr and Asr prayers, except the bismillah, and in the recitation or dhikr in the third and fourth units of all the prayers. One has a choice between reciting quietly or loudly in other than this such as the dhikr of bowing, prostration, tashahhud, and qunoot.
 
Ruling 192: The 105th and the 106th chapters are treated like one chapter. If one chose to recite either one of them, he must recite both of them in sequence without omitting the bismillah of the second chapter. The same is the case for the chapters 93 and 94.
 
Ruling 193: If one forgets to recite loudly or quietly when required, then the prayer is not void unless this is done intentionally. Similar, this is the case with stillness during the recitation and dhikr.
 
Ruling 194: If the recitation or the substitute dhikr is forgotten until reaching the bowing position, then the prayer is correct; but if he remembers before that then he must perform it. If one doubts about it before entering the bowing position or the qunoot, he must perform them, and if the doubt is after having entered either one of them (the bowing or the qunoot) then his prayer is valid and he may continue.
 
(5) The Qunoot
 
The qunoot is the supplication that is performed in prayers with the raising of one’s hands before his face with the palms facing the sky.
 
Ruling 195: It is recommended in all prayers once, whether they are obligatory or recommended, after the recitation of the second unit and before the bowing, except for the shaf’ prayer. In the witr prayer – which consists of only one unit – it is recommended after the recitation and before the bowing. It is recommended more than once in the prayer of Signs, the Friday prayer, and the Eid prayers, as will be explained later.
 
Ruling 196: It is recommended to recite the takbir before the qunoot, and to recite the supplications narrated from the Infallibles (peace be upon them).
 
Ruling 197: It is permissible to recite the qunoot in any language.
 
(6) The Bowing (Rukoo’)
 
This is a fundamental obligatory act of prayer, performed once after the recitation in every unit, except for the Prayer of Signs. Omitting it in the obligatory prayer makes it void, whether it was intentional or unintentional; similarly, adding it also makes it void, except in the congregational prayer where it does not invalidate the prayer if it was added in order to re-join the congregation, as will be explained in ruling 263.
 
Ruling 198: It is necessary in the bowing to bend from the standing position purposefully, keeping the legs straight, and to the extent that the tips of the fingers can reach the knees.
 
Ruling 199: It is necessary to recite dhikr in it, and it suffices to say ‘Subhana Rabbiyal- Adheemi wa bi-Hamdih’ or three times ‘Subhanallah’. It is an obligatory precaution to be still during the bowing. If one forgets the dhikr during the bowing, it does not invalidate the prayer. Just as it is necessary to enter the bowing position from the standing position, it is similarly necessary to raise the head and stand up straight after the bowing.
 
Ruling 200: Whoever is incapable of bending to the required amount – even with depending on a stick or the like – he should sit down and bend to a similar degree. Then if he is incapable of that also, the obligatory precaution is to bend to the amount that is possible while he is standing. Then if he is incapable of bending at all he must pray standing making a sign with his head instead of bowing. If even this is not possible, one should make a sign by closing his eyes.
 
Ruling 201: If one forgets the bowing until he has placed his forehead on the ground for the first prostration, then he must go back to the standing position, bow down, perform the two prostrations and continue his prayer, and it is recommended to perform the two prostrations of forgetfulness after the prayer. If he remembers after placing the forehead on the ground for the second prostration, the prayer is void as an obligatory precaution, and he should do one of the things that invalidate the prayer, like turning away from qiblah, before restarting his prayer.
 
All this applies to the obligatory prayers. As for the supererogatory prayer, it does not become void and one can go back to perform the bowing and then continue the prayer.
 
Ruling 202:Whoever doubts about having performed the bowing, he must carry it out; but if the doubt arises after having descended for prostration even if he has not placed his forehead on the ground, then he should consider the bowing to have been performed and continue with the prayer.
 
Ruling 203: It is recommended to recite the takbir before the bowing and after it, raising the hands and it is recommended to place the hands on the knees while bowing, and it is disliked to raise the head or lower it more than usual degree.
 
(7) The Prostration (Sujood)
 
This means the placing of the forehead on what is permissible to be prostrated upon – as explained in ruling 162– in submission to Allah Almighty. It is prohibited to prostrate to other than Him, no matter who or what it is.
 
Ruling 204: It is obligatory to perform two prostrations in each unit. Both prostrations together are considered as a fundamental part of the prayer. Therefore, the prayer is void if both are omitted, whether intentionally or out of forgetfulness. The prayer is also void if they are added intentionally; as an obligatory precaution, the prayer also becomes void if they are added out of forgetfulness. The prayer is not invalidated by the increasing or decreasing of one prostration due to forgetfulness.
 
The criteria of what counts as a prostration – when considering the additions and omissions of prostrations – is the placement of the forehead, and not anything else.
 
Ruling 205: It is necessary in the prostration – in addition to what has been explained previously in regards to the place of prayer – that seven parts of the body are on the ground: the forehead, the two hands – specifically the inside of the hands based on an obligatory precaution – both knees, and the two big toes of the feet.
 
Ruling 206: It is necessary in prostration to recite the dhikr as was mentioned for the bowing, except that here the word ‘al-adheemi’ is replaced by ‘al-a’ala’. It is necessary to be still during it as an obligatory precaution. It is also obligatory to raise the head and sit between the two prostrations, and as an obligatory precaution one should sit up after them as well.
 
Ruling 207: The place where one places his forehead in prostration should not be higher or lower by more than the width of four joined fingers relative to the other parts placed on the ground in prostration; rather, the obligatory precaution is not to lower it by more than the said amount relative to the feet in particular, even if it is at the same level as the other parts of prostration.
 
Ruling 208: It is permissible to place the forehead in prostration on earth, such as stones, soil, bricks, cement, and plants provided that it is not commonly consumable, like spinach, or something that is commonly worn like cotton. The place of prostration must be tahir.
It has been narrated that there is a great reward in prostrating on the earth around the grave of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) and surrounding earth of Karbala.
 
Ruling 209: If he is incapable of performing the prostration in the proper way, then the obligatory precaution is to bend to the amount possible while placing the forehead on something raised upon which prostration is valid, and placing the other parts of prostration in their usual places. If this is not possible, then he should indicate with his head by lowering it; and if that this not possible as well, then he should indicate with his eyes; and if even this is not possible then he should prostrate in his heart.
 
Ruling 210: Whoever has a boil or the like on his forehead, he should prostrate on the rest of the forehead, which may require making a space in the place of prostration so that the sound part of the forehead rests on the ground.
 
Ruling 211: Whoever forgets a prostration or two prostrations, and remembers before entering the bowing of the following unit, he must return to perform the forgotten prostrations. However, if he remembers after the said bowing and he had forgotten both prostrations, then the prayer is void if the prayer is obligatory; and if he had forgotten one prostration then he will continue with the prayer and then perform the forgotten prostration as qadha.
 
Ruling 212: If one forgets both prostrations of one unit until he has performed the salutations and completed the prayer, then his prayer is void whether it is obligatory or recommended; if he forgot one prostration, he will perform it as qadha after the prayer. However, if he forgets one prostration or two in one unit and then performs the testimonies, he should return and perform the forgotten prostrations and repeat the testimonies.
 
Ruling 213: If he doubts about whether he performed the prostration before he reaches the standing position or before beginning the testimonies, then he should perform it. However, if the doubt arises after this, then he should ignore it and continue with the prayer.
 
Ruling 214: The following things are recommended: to recite the takbir while standing after the bowing, before the prostration and after it, to raise the hands during takbir, to include as much of the forehead in the prostrations as possible, to rest the nose on the ground too during prostration, to raise the hands adjacent to the ears when reciting takbir.
 
It is disliked during prayers to blow on the place where one prostrates on, to keep the hands on the ground between the two prostrations, amongst other things.
 
(8) The Testimonies (Tashahhud)
 
This is obligatory in the prayers, and is performed once in all prayers after raising the head from the second prostration of the second unit; and it is performed a second time in the prayers consisting of three and four units, after the second prostration of the final unit. The prayer becomes void if it is omitted or added deliberately, not forgetfully.
 
Ruling 215: It is sufficient in it to recite the following: “Ash’hadu Al-La Ilaha Illallah Wahdahu La Shareeka Lah. Wa Ash’hadu Anna Muhammadan Abduhu Wa Rasooluh. Allahumma Salli Ala Muhammadin wa Aale Muhammad.”
 
Ruling 216: One who forgets the testimonies in the obligatory prayers and remembers it before entering the bowing, he must return and perform it. However, if he remembers it after the bowing, he should continue on with his prayer and perform the prostration of forgetfulness. If he remembers it after the salutations, he should perform its qadha.
 
Ruling 217: One who doubts about whether he performed it or not after the standing, or after beginning the salutations, he should consider it has having been performed; if he doubts before that then he should perform it.
 
(9) The Salutations (Tasleem)
 
This is obligatory once in every prayer, and this is the last part of every prayer, and with it one exits from the prayer.
 
Ruling 218: The salutation has two phrases:
(1) ‘Assalamu Alayna wa ala Ibadillah-is-Saliheen’
(2) ‘Assalaamu Alaykum’, and it is better to add to it ‘wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh’.
 
If one begins with the first phrase then the second phrase is recommended, and not vice-versa. Furthermore, it is recommended to recite the following before the two mentioned phrases: ‘Assalaamu Alayka ayyuhan-Nabiyyu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh’.
 
Ruling 219: If one forgets the salutations until entering the post-prayer worships, he must return and recite it. If he remembers after the occurring of something that voids the prayer, such as hadith or turning one’s back towards qibla, his prayer is void.
 
Ruling 220: One who doubts about it after having finished the prayer, his prayer is correct.
 
(10) Post-Prayer Acts
 
Ruling 221: After the prayer, it is recommended to engage in dhikr, supplication and recitation of the holy Quran. Amongst such acts is the recitation of the takbir three times immediately after the prayer has ended, raising one’s hands each time. It is recommended also to seek refuge with Allah from hell and ask for paradise. A highly recommended act is to recite the tasbeeh of Fatimah Al-Zahra (peace be upon her) as follows: Allahu Akbar (34 times), Alhamdulillah. (33 times), and Sub’hanallah (33 times). Apart from this, there are supplications that have been taught by the Imams (peace be upon them) for us to recite after prayers, and they can be found in the respective books of supplications.
 
Ruling 222: It is recommended to perform a prostration of thankfulness to Allah after every obligatory or recommended prayer, and it is sufficient to recite in it ‘Shukran Lillah’ three times.
 
Things Which Invalidate the Prayer
 
 
Ruling 223: There are several things which void the prayer, as follows:
 
(1) Failure to fulfil some particular conditions, such as taharah, as explained previously.
 
(2) The occurrence of major or minor hadith, except for the person who is incontinent, or cannot control his bowels or wind, or the woman in the state of istihadha.
 
(3) Facing the whole body away from the qibla, whether it is done intentionally, forgetfully or uncontrollably. As for just turning the face away, it voids the obligatory prayer if he did so purposefully and to a great degree.
 
(4) What conflicts with the form of the prayer according to the religious believers, as an obligatory precaution, such as jumping, clapping, eating, drinking to a substantial degree; for instance, if a person swallows some food that was stuck in his teeth it would not invalidate the prayer.
 
(5) Deliberately talking, even if it be necessary, with the exception of dhikr, recitation of the Holy Quran, and supplication, as well as returning a greeting if it is obligatory to do so.
 
(6) Deliberately laughing, consisting of sound and reverberation; in fact, as an obligatory precaution, any kind of laughing which consists of sound.
 
(7) Deliberately crying which consists of sound, if it is for a worldly matter, as an obligatory precaution.
 
(8) Placing one of the hands on the other in humbleness – without being in the state of taqiyyah – if such causes the propagation of falsehood, or in making it part of the Sharia knowing that it is not part of it.
 
(9) Saying "Ameen" after the end of the recitation of Suratul-Fatiha, purposefully, as an obligatory precaution, except for when one is in the state of taqiyyah.
 
The Friday Prayer
 
 
Ruling 224: The Friday Prayer is performed in two units, and is preceded by two sermons, in which it is obligatory for the speaker – who is the imam of the congregation – to praise and extol Allah, advise people to godliness, and to recite a chapter of the Quran, in the first sermon, and to praise and extol Allah, invoke blessings on the Prophet and his holy progeny (peace be upon them all), and – as an obligatory precaution – to name all the Imams one by one, and to seek from Allah the forgiveness of the believers, in the second sermon.
 
Ruling 225: The Friday Prayer is valid only if the following conditions are fulfilled:
(1)   The time of the prayer – i.e. zawal time – must have arrived. However, it is permissible for the two sermons to be before the time such that when they are completed the time has arrived.
(2)   There should be a congregation of at least five people, and as an obligatory precaution they must be men, one of them being the imam.
(3)   There should not be a distance of less than about six kilometres between the holding of one Friday Prayer and that of another.
 
Ruling 226: In the time of the Occultation of the Imam (peace be upon him), the duty-bound person has a choice between performing the Friday Prayer or the Dhuhr prayer. For this reason, it is not obligatory to go to the Friday prayer at the time of its calling, nor is it prohibited to carry out sale transactions.
 
However, if a duty-bound person living in the Americas decides to offer the Friday prayer, as an obligatory precaution he should also offer the Dhuhr prayer.
 
Ruling 227: It is recommended to perform the qunoot twice in the Friday Prayer, once before the bowing of the first unit, and again after the bowing of the second unit.
 
The Prayer of Signs
 
 
Ruling 228: The Prayer of Signs is performed when the following events take place: lunar eclipses and solar eclipses, even if they do not cause fear; and every celestial event that causes fear, like thunderbolts and black storms; similarly, during earthquakes as an obligatory precaution, as well as during every earthly event that causes fear, such as great destruction, landslides, etc.
 
Ruling 229: It is obligatory to perform the Prayer of Signs on every duty-bound person – except the women in the state of haydh and nifas – who is in the place in which the event takes place, or is conventionally associated with it.
 
Ruling 230: The time for the prayer for eclipses is from the beginning of the eclipse until the sun or the moon is fully visible. For all other causes, it is obligatory to hasten to pray it as soon as the event begins.
 
Ruling 231: If one did not know of the eclipse until the sun or the moon became fully visible, he is not obligated to perform the qadha prayer provided that the eclipse was partial. However, if the eclipse was total, or he knew of the event and was neglectful in performing the prayer, it is obligatory to perform the qadha of the lapsed prayer. In respect to other events, one must perform the qadha prayer as an obligatory precaution if he knew of its occurrence and did not pray, and it is not obligated upon him if he did not know of the event until it ended.
 
Ruling 232: The Prayer of Signs is prayed in two units. In each unit there are five bowings, whereby he will recite before each bowing the Suratul-Fatiha and another chapter. Alternatively, one may divide the second chapter recited into five parts and recite each part before each bowing without the need to repeat Suratul-Fatiha; after the fifth bowing, one will perform the two prostrations, and then rise again for the second unit and repeat what he did in the first unit, and end with the testimonies and the salutations as usual.
 
Ruling 233: It is recommended to recite the qunoot in it before the second, fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth bowing, and he may recite it in some of these five positions and not in others.
 
Ruling 234: The bowings of this prayer are fundamental parts of the prayer, and any addition or omission of the bowings will cause the prayer to become void, whether done so forgetfully or intentionally, just like the usual daily prayers. Similarly, the rules of doubts are alike.
 
Ruling 235: This prayer is to be repeated for each event that is a cause for it.
 
Ruling 236: Lunar and solar eclipses, as well as other events that obligate this prayer are established by having knowledge of their occurrence, or the testimony of two adil men. They are not established by the opinions of the astronomers and their like who have not confirmed it by sighting unless one is certain that they are correct.
 
Qadha Prayers
 
 
Qadha refers to the making up of missed worships.
 
Ruling 237: It is obligatory to perform the qadha of the daily prayers whose time has lapsed intentionally, forgetfully, out of ignorance, due to sleeping, or due to ones prayer lacking something making it void.
 
Ruling 238: The prayers missed by a child, an insane person, an unconscious person, a non-Muslim – other than apostates –, and a woman in the state of haydh or nifas, are not required to be made up as qadha. As for the apostate, he should make the prayers after his repentance as an obligatory precaution.
 
Ruling 239: It is obligatory on an intoxicated person to perform the qadha if the intoxication was due to him himself.
 
Ruling 240: It is greatly recommended to offer the qadha of the missed daily supererogatory prayers.
 
Ruling 241: If the lapsed prayers have an obligatory sequence, like the Dhuhr and Asr prayers of a single day, then the sequence must be followed in performing their qadha. Otherwise, it is not necessary to follow any sequence. Therefore, if one has missed prayers over a number of days, it is possible for him to offer the qadha of the lapsed Fajr prayers in the respective number, then those of the Dhuhr prayer, and so on. However, it is best to observe the sequence in which the prayers lapsed.
 
Ruling 242: It has not been legislated for those with a justifiable excuse which has caused them to pray with substitute taharah, e.g. tayammum, to offer during the duration of the excuse the qadha of lapsed prayers except when one becomes despondent in the excuse ever ending. It is permissible to offer the qadha while one expects the excuse to continue; then, if it happens to continue, the prayers are valid, otherwise - if the excuse ends - he has to repeat the qadha prayers.
 
Delegation of Prayers
 
 
Ruling 243: It has not been legislated for one to perform obligatory prayers voluntarily or by delegation on behalf of those who are alive. In respect to the recommended prayers, one can perform them voluntarily or by delegation on behalf of the living. As for the deceased, voluntary prayers or delegated prayers are permissible on their behalf for all recommended and obligatory prayers.
 
Ruling 244: The delegated person must be a sane believer. As an obligatory precaution, he cannot be somebody who is weak in his faith, not affirming the guardianship of the Ahlul-Bayt (peace be upon them), nor denying it.
 
Ruling 245: It is obligatory on the guardian of the deceased – the male inheritor – to offer the qadha of the lapsed prayers and fasts of the deceased, whether they lapsed due to a justifiable excuse, or due to overlooking them, as long as the abandoning of it was not out of carelessness or defiance. If there is more than one guardian, the obligation is by way of kifayah, i.e. if one of them, or anybody else, undertakes this obligation, the obligation is dropped from the others.
 
Ruling 246: All actions which can be performed by delegation, it is also permissible to hire somebody to offer them. However, the liability of the deceased remains until the actions are actually performed, rather than by merely hiring somebody to perform them.
 
Congregational Prayers
 
 
The congregational prayers are amongst the emphasised recommended acts in respect to the daily prayers and the prayer of signs, and it is also recommended for the prayer of istisqa (for the seeking of rain) and the prayers of the two days of Eid. However, it has not been legislated for the supererogatory prayers.
 
Ruling 247: The least number of people that is required for other than the Eid and Friday prayers is two, one of which will be the imam; and there is no problem if the person being led is a child or a woman.
 
Ruling 248: It is necessary for entering the congregational prayer that the one being led has the intention to be led by the imam. This is unaffected by the imam offering a different prayer than that offered by the follower, as long as both are from the daily prayers.
 
Ruling 249: It is permissible to change ones prayer from congregational to individual; however, it is not permissible to switch from one imam to another imam during a prayer, except if something happens to the first imam that does not allow him to continue leading the prayers, such as a hadith or the like.
 
Ruling 250: In order to join the congregational prayer, one must join the imam after the takbirat-ul-ihram, and before the salutations. Therefore, one may recite the takbir and join the imam in any point during the prayer. But the unit in which he joins will not be counted as his first unit of the prayer unless he joins the imam before the bowing or during it.
 
As an obligatory precaution, if one joins the imam in the first testimonies (tashahhud), he should recite the takbirat-ul-ihram standing and not sit, and when the imam stands for the third unit he will begin following him.
 
However, if one wishes to follow somebody who is praying individually, then he should not join with him except when he is standing or bowing, and this will be counted as the follower’s first unit.
 
Ruling 251: It is necessary for the followers in the congregation to be connected to the imam, and for them to be connected to each other, such that there is no barrier between them like a curtain or a wall. There should not be a great distance between them, and as an obligatory precaution the distance between the imam and his followers and between the followers should not reach 1.25 meters. However, there is no problem with the presence of a barrier separating men from women.
 
Ruling 252: The imam should not be in a position higher than the position of the congregation by a considerable amount, and as an obligatory precaution the difference should not be more than two fingers’ width. This is so if the change in elevation between them is immediate or close to immediate. If it is gradual such that it is normally unnoticeable and the ground is regarded as being level, due to the vastness of the place, then there is no problem in such a difference.
 
There is no problem if the case is vice versa, i.e. the congregation’s position is higher than the imam’s.
 
Ruling 253: The followers must not be positioned ahead of the imam, and as an obligatory precaution they should not be positioned in level with him. The imam should be ahead of them even if by a small distance like the width of four fingers.
 
Conditions of the Imam of the Congregation
 
Ruling 254: In order for the congregational prayer to be valid, the imam must meet the following conditions:
(1)   He should be a sane believer.
(2)    He should be of legitimate birth.
(3)    He should not have been subjected to a legitimate Sharia-based punishment.
(4)    He should have a conventionally-recognized jurisprudential insight of Islamic laws if there are those in the congregation who also do; however if no member of the congregation has such insight, any one of them may lead the rest in prayer.
(5)    He should be an adult male. So a child cannot lead the prayers at all as an obligatory precaution, and a woman can only lead other women.
(6)    As an obligatory precaution, he should have correct pronunciation, if the congregation does, except if the congregation is led by him in the third and the fourth unit, or in those prayers in which one can recite quietly like Dhuhr, in which case the congregation can follow him and recite for themselves.
(7)    Adalah, which means that he should be so devout that he refrains from the major sins, and if he does commit them he rushes to repentance and regret.
 
Ruling 255: It is not permissible to pray behind somebody whose adalah one doubts. Rather, it is necessary to be sure, through either of two ways:
(1)    by the testimony of two adil men which is based on their first-hand witnessing by being in his companionship;
(2)    by his good appearance which is based on the manifestation of goodness from him and the absence of ill-deeds, in respect to those who accompany and socialize with him.
 
Ruling 256:: If one realizes after the prayer that the imam did not fulfil all the criteria as mentioned above, or that the imam’s prayer itself is invalid, it is permissible to deem his own prayer in the congregation to be valid.
 
Rules of Congregational Prayers
 
Ruling 257: The imam does not do anything in the prayer on behalf of the followers except his recitation of the first two units.
 
Ruling 258: In the first two units of the prayers in which the Quranic recitation is done aloud (e.g. the Fajr, Maghrib and Isha prayers), it is prohibited for a follower in a congregation to recite as well if he hears the imam’s voice or even his murmuring. As for the prayers in which the recitation is quiet (i.e. the Dhuhr and Asr prayers), one should not recite the two chapters with the intention that the Sharia has designated them to be recited, as an obligatory precaution, and it is best to resort to dhikr and supplication.
 
Ruling 259: If one is behind the imam in his prayer by one unit or more, he should perform his own recitation of the two chapters if the imam is in the third or fourth unit, unless he enters the prayer while the imam is in the state of bowing.
 
Ruling 260: Whoever joins the imam’s congregation in other than the first unit, he must follow the imam as usual, but he should offer what is required from him and not what is required from the imam, such as the testimonies or the recitation. If the imam does not give him enough time for his recitation, what he has recited will suffice and he should continue to follow the imam.
If the imam is required to perform the testimonies but the follower is not, he should not perform it; instead, he should place his hands on the ground in front of him and raise his knees based on an obligatory precaution.
 
Ruling 261:: It is obligatory for the recitations and dhikr to be rendered quietly behind the imam, whether they are obligatory or recommended.
 
Ruling 262: It is obligatory for each follower to follow the imam in all the acts, so he should not go ahead of him in the acts of prayer, nor should he be very behind; he may perform the acts simultaneously with the imam. As for what is recited, there is no problem in going ahead of the imam except for in the takbiratul-ihram, as it is necessary for the imam to complete it before the follower performs it, and it is permissible for the follower to delay it.
 
Ruling 263: If one fails to follow the imam as explained in the previous ruling intentionally, his prayer does not become void, nor does his participation in the congregation, but he commits a sin due to it. However, if he recites the takbiratul-ihram before the imam, he is no longer part of the congregation, and he should complete his prayer on his own.
 
Ruling 264: Whoever goes ahead of the imam in the bowing or the prostration or the rising to the standing position, if he was intentional in doing so, he should stay in his position until the imam reaches the same position, as an obligatory precaution. If he was forgetful in doing so, it is obligatory to return to his proper position in following the imam.
 
Ruling 265: Whoever arrives at a congregation and does not know whether the imam is currently in the first two units – so the recitation of the two chapters is borne by the imam – or in the third and fourth units – so he is required to recite for himself – then he should recite the two chapters (al-Fatiha and another chapter) with the hope that it is required.
 
Ruling 266: If either the imam or a follower doubts in the number of units performed, each should refer to the other if he remembers.
 
Ruling 267: It is permissible to form a congregation if there is a difference between the imam and the follower in respect to the direction of the qibla, as long as the difference is not to a great degree.
 
Defects in the Prayer
 
Additions and Omissions
 
Ruling 268: Whoever intentionally omits any parts or conditions from the prayer, his prayer is void, even if the omitted thing is a single letter or vowel sign in the recitations and obligatory dhikr. The same is the case if one adds any extra act to the prayer intentionally, whether such an act is of the same nature as an act in the prayer, like the takbir or the bowing, or not so, like raising the hands with the intention of it being a part of the prayer. The same is said if one doubts between two courses of action and choses one of them without referring to the measures prescribed by the sharia in the particular case.
 
Ruling 269: Whoever adds a part, forgetfully or due to ignorance, his prayer will not become void, except if the addition is a bowing. The prayer is also void with the forgetfulness of both prostrations of one unit as an obligatory precaution.
 
Ruling 270: The loss of taharah will make the prayer void in all cases. The rulings in respect to the failure to fulfil the rest of the conditions of the prayers have been mentioned previously.
 
Doubts in the Prayer
 
Here, doubt refers to when one is uncertain, whether the two sides of the possibility are equally probable, or one side is more probable than the other. However, when one reaches the level of obsessive scrupulosity (waswasah), his doubt will not be taken into consideration in prayer or in any other situation.
 
Ruling 271: Whoever doubts whether he offered the prayer or not, if he is still within the prescribed time of that prayer then he should offer it, as long as he has not begun the next prayer which shares the same time (such as the Dhuhr and Asr prayers, or the Maghrib and Isha prayers); in the latter case he should consider the first of the two prayers to have been performed. If the doubt arises after the time of that prayer has expired, he should consider it to have been offered.
 
Ruling 272: Whoever doubts about the correctness of the prayer after having completed it, he should consider it as performed correctly, and the same applies for one who doubts about the correctness of a part of his prayer after having completed that part and moved on.
 
Ruling 273: Whoever doubts about whether he performed an act of the prayer, and he has continued on to the next part of the prayer, he should consider it has having been performed.
 
Ruling 274: Whoever often doubts about a condition of prayer, such as taharah, before beginning the prayer, he should ensure that the condition has been fulfilled, except if it has reached the level of obsessive scrupulosity. Whoever often doubts in the conditions of the prayer after starting it, he should ignore his doubt, even if he hasn’t completed his prayer.
 
Ruling 275: Whoever doubts much about an act of prayer before beginning the subsequent act, if he believes that obsessive scrupulosity caused him to favour one side of the doubt, he should act according to the other side. For example, if he doubts about whether he performed the testimonies (the tashahhud), and he believes that the probability of him having performed it is due to obsessive scrupulosity, he should consider it as not having been performed. If he does not hold such a belief, he should – as an obligatory precaution – act as though he has performed it, as long as it does not make the prayer void; otherwise he should act as though he has not performed it.
 
Ruling 276: In deciding whether one doubts too much, convention is referred to; and convention states that a person is regarded as one who doubts too much if he has doubts in three consecutive prayers. Also, it is necessary for this to apply that the excessive doubting is attributed to obsessive scrupulosity, and not to other causes such as illness or fear and the like which causes the mind to be disturbed.
 
Doubts in the Number of Units
 
Ruling 277: Whoever doubts during the course of the prayer in the number of units performed, if one possibility of the doubt is most probable than the others – even if after deliberation – he should act according to that probability. If all the possibilities are equally probable, then if the prayer is of two or three units, or if it is of four units but has not yet completed the dhikr of the second prostration of the second unit, his prayer has become void. Otherwise, he may remedy the prayer in the following five situations:
 
(1) If he doubts between 2 and 3 units, after completing the obligatory dhikr of the second prostration, he should consider it to be the third unit and complete his prayer. Then he should offer a precautionary prayer of one unit. He should offer this precautionary prayer standing based on an obligatory precaution.
 
(2) If he doubts between 3 and 4 units, whichever position he may be in, he should consider it to be the fourth unit and complete his prayer. Then he should offer a precautionary prayer of one unit standing, or two units sitting.
 
(3) If he doubts between 2 and 4 units, after completing the obligatory dhikr of the second prostration, he should consider it to be the fourth unit and complete his prayer. Then he should offer a precautionary prayer of two units standing.
 
(4) If he doubts between 2, 3 and 4 units, after completing the obligatory dhikr of the second prostration, he should consider it to be the fourth unit and complete his prayer. Then he should offer two precautionary prayers: two units standing and then two units sitting.
 
(5) If he doubts between 4 and 5 units, after completing the obligatory dhikr of the last prostration, he should consider it to be the fourth unit, and after reciting the tasleem he should offer the two prostrations of forgetfulness, as will be explained later.
 
In a situation other than mentioned above, one must repeat his prayer. He is permitted to repeat his prayer in these mentioned situations as well, provided that he breaks the prayer with something which voids the prayer, such as turning his back to qibla.
 
Ruling 278: Whoever has a doubt in his prayer about the number of units, and he acted according to the greater number, and after he completes the prayer and before he offers the precautionary prayer he becomes certain that how he performed the prayer was correct, then he does not need to perform the precautionary prayer.
 
Ruling 279: The precautionary prayer is offered by reciting only Suratul-Fatiha quietly. It should be offered after the main prayer, and as an obligatory precaution there should not be any act in between them that voids the prayer, nor should there be a gap which negates the continuity of the prayer.
 
The Lapsed Forgotten Parts of Prayer
 
Ruling 280: It is obligatory to make up for the forgotten prostration and the final tashahhud; rather, if a part of the latter is missed, he should make up for that as well, if he remembers it after the salutations (tasleem). Based on an obligatory precaution one should also offer the prostrations of forgetfulness when the said tashahhud is forgotten. The making-up of lapsed forgotten parts does not apply to any other act.
 
Ruling 281: In respect to the first tashahhud, if one forgets it and does not remember until after the following bowing, this is remedied by the prostrations of forgetfulness. The same is the case if a part of the first tashahhud is forgotten, as an obligatory precaution.
 
Ruling 282: In making-up for the said prostration and tashahhud, all that which is required in the original acts are required here, like taharah, facing qibla, etc.
 
The Prostrations of Forgetfulness
 
Ruling 283: The prostrations of forgetfulness are required for the following:
(1)   If one speaks intentionally thinking that he was not in prayer, or forgetfully.
(2)    If one forgets the first tashahhud, and also the last one as an obligatory precaution.
(3)    If one adds tashahhud and tasleem together, and even if the tasleem alone is added as an obligatory precaution.
(4)    If one doubts between having performed four or five units, after the completion of both prostrations.
(5)    If one performs something while sitting which is required to be offered while standing, and vice-versa, as long as no fundamental part of the prayer is affected.
(6)    If one recites the Quran, as required in the standing position, instead of dhikr in the bowing and prostration, or he recites the tasbihat al-arba’a in the standing of the first two units.
(7)    If one knows generally that there has been an addition or omission which does not void the prayer, but he does not know exactly what it is.
 
Ruling 284: The prostrations of forgetfulness should be performed after the prayer, and as an obligatory precaution it should be offered immediately afterwards without any gap. However, if one is required to perform the precautionary prayer, then he should offer the prostrations of forgetfulness after it as an obligatory precaution. If one is required to make up for the lapsed prostration or testimonies, it is best to perform the prostrations of forgetfulness after them too.
 
Ruling 285: If the causes of the prostrations of forgetfulness are multiple, so will be the prostrations of forgetfulness i.e. the prostrations of forgetfulness are repeated for every cause.
 
Ruling 286: The prostrations of forgetfulness consist of two prostrations, and – based on an obligatory precaution – they are performed consecutively, in which dhikr of Allah almighty is recited, followed by the tashahhud and the tasleem.
 
Ruling 287: The following conditions of the prostrations of forgetfulness must be met:
(1)    One should have the appropriate intention of worship.
(2)    The aforementioned seven parts of the body should be placed on the ground.
(3)    The forehead should be placed on what is correct to be prostrated upon.
(4)    The placement of the forehead should not be high, as explained in the rulings of prostration.
(5)    As an obligatory precaution, the remaining conditions of prayer should also be observed, such as taharah and facing qibla.
 
Ruling 288: No particular dhikr is obligatory to be recited in the prostrations, but there are some recommended recitations, such as: “Bismillahi wa Billahi was-Salamu Alaika Ayyuhan-Nabiyyu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.”.
 
Defects in the Recommended Prayers
 
Ruling 289: The recommended prayers become void with any deliberate omission, and the same is the case with deliberate additions based on obligatory precaution, whether the act omitted or added is a fundamental part of the prayer or not. Omission of a fundamental act forgetfully will void the prayer too, but a forgetful addition of a fundamental act won’t.
 
Ruling 290: If a non-fundamental part of a recommended prayer is omitted forgetfully until one has performed a fundamental part of the prayer, he should go back to make up what he missed, even if this means repeating a fundamental part.
But, if the omitted part is the recitation of the two chapters of the Quran, then he should continue on.
 
Ruling 291: If one has omitted a whole unit from a recommend prayer and if it is possible for him to make it up before doing anything that invalidates the prayer, then he should do so; if this is not possible, the prayer is void.
If one adds a whole unit, his prayer is void based on an obligatory precaution.
 
Ruling 292: Whoever doubts in the number of units offered in the recommended prayers, if he finds one of the possibilities most probable than the others, he should act on it based on an obligatory precaution. Otherwise, he may choose any of the possibilities, other than in the prayer of witr which he should repeat as an obligatory precaution.
 
Ruling 293: If one doubts about a particular part of a recommended prayer, he should perform it if he is still in its position as an obligatory precaution. If he has moved on to another part, he should continue and complete the prayer.
 
Ruling 294: The prostrations of forgetfulness are not obligatory in recommended prayers, although it is best perform them.
 
The Prayer of the Traveller
 
 
The four-unit prayers become shortened to two units only when one is travelling, provided the following conditions are fulfilled:
(1) Travelling the total specified distance of 8 farsakhs (approximately 46 kilometers), so a total journey of a lesser distance will not permit shortening the prayer.
 
Ruling 295: If one is on a round journey, each of the outgoing and returning legs of the journey must be at least 4 farsakhs for the shortening of the prayers.
(2) The intention to travel the specified distance; so if one travels 8 farsakhs coincidentally without such an intention, he will perform the prayers in full.
 
For example, if one intends to travel a distance of less than the 46 kilometers, and then decides to travel a further distance of less than 46 kilometers, making the total distance travelled exceeding 46 kilometers, he will offer his complete prayers, because the necessary intention to travel the specified distance was not there during the journey. However, if he intends to travel further to a distance of 46 kilometers, or 23 kilometers – with the intention to returning home– he will offer shortened prayers during the journey, because he will have the intention of travelling the specified distance then. He will offer shortened prayers also when he starts his journey home and the distance is 46 kilometers or more.
 
(3) Continuity of the intention to travel the specified distance without any change; So if he changes his mind before reaching 23 kilometers, and wishes to return home, he should pray in full. If he changes his mind after reaching 23 kilometers, and wishes to return home by travelling a distance of at least 23 kilometers, he is still covering a total distance of 46 kilometers – including his return journey – so he is required to continue shortening his prayer.
 
(4) On the outset of his journey, he should not intend to pass through his hometown, or to stay at a place on the way for a period of at least ten days, before reaching the specified distance. The same is the case if one is not sure whether he will pass through his hometown or stay at a place for the said duration.
 
Ruling 296: The travel is considered to have ended by passing by one’s hometown, as well as through a town in which one has been working or studying for a long period of time, so one is required to offer complete prayers in such a place. The same applies if one intends to stay at a place on the way for a period of at least ten days, or by staying in such a place continuously and indecisively for thirty days.
 
(5) The journey should be permissible; so it should not itself be unlawful to travel, such as a wife travelling without the permission of her husband, nor should the purpose of the journey be unlawful, such as to hurt a believer, whether the purpose is actually fulfilled in the end or not.
 
(6) The normal course of his life or work does not require him to travel frequently to the specified distance; so one should offer complete prayers if his job is to travel, such as a driver, or if one needs to travel in order to work, such as somebody who lives in a place and works in another place or a person who collects goods regularly from one place to sell in another, or if he has a particular purpose in repetitive travelling, like to visit, or to study, or for treatment, etc.
 
Ruling 297: Whoever travels a lot due to his work, such as a driver, it is sufficient for him in order to be required to offer the complete prayers that he takes on such a job. Therefore, he should offer the complete prayers in his first journey.
 
Ruling 298: Whoever travels a lot due for a reason other than work, such as visiting, it is necessary to allow a reasonable time to pass in order for the travel to be conventionally seen as a part of the normal course of his life. If one doubts whether this is the case or not, he should, as an obligatory precaution, offer both complete and shortened prayers during the time he is doubtful.
 
(7) He should pass the hadd at-tarakhus, which is the distance from his point of departure whereby he cannot be seen by the people of his town, nor can he hear the sound of the adhan from that town. If one of these two conditions is present and not the other, then one should act on the obligatory precaution to offer both complete and shortened prayers, or he should delay the prayer until he reaches a point where both conditions are satisfied.
 
Ruling 299: Just as the hadd at-tarakhus is the starting point of the shortening of prayers, it is also the last point of his travel in which he is required to shorten his prayer on his return journey.
 
Ruling 300: If all the conditions are fulfilled, the traveler is required to shorten his prayer, and his prayer is void if he does not do so, unless if he was ignorant of the obligation of shortening the prayer. Similarly, his fast is also void, unless he erroneously believes that the Sharia recognizes the fast of a traveller.
 
Ruling 301: The time one actually performs the prayer is taken into consideration when establishing whether one needs to perform shortened prayers or not, rather than when the prayer time begins. So if the time of prayer arrives while one is travelling, and he does not pray until he reaches his hometown, he should offer complete prayers. Similarly, if one was at home when the prayer time arrived and he does not pray then, but then travels and decides to pray then, then he should shorten his prayers. When one’s prayer is lapsed, his situation during the final portion of its designated time is taken into consideration. So if he was travelling at that time, he will offer its qadha by shortening the prayer, even if he is now at home; and if he was not travelling at that time, he will offer its qadha in full, even if he is presently travelling.
 
Ruling 302: One has a choice in performing his prayers completed or shortened in four specific places if he is a traveller: Makkah, Madinah, Kufah and the shrine of Imam Husain (peace be upon him) in Karbala. In the latter case, the choice applies only to one praying under the dome of his shrine as an obligatory precaution. However, this choice only applies to praying, and not fasting, so the general rules will apply in respect to one’s fast.
 
Ruling 303: The supererogatory prayers of the Dhuhr and Asr prayers are not recognized by the Sharia when one is travelling.
 
Some Recommended Prayers
 
The Eid Prayers
 
The prayers of Eid (Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha) are obligatory in the time of the presence of the Imam (peace be upon him) with the relevant provisions, and they are recommended during his occultation, whether they are performed in congregation or alone.
 
Ruling 304: Its designated time is from sunrise until zawal time.
 
Ruling 305: It consists of two units; in each unit Suratul-Fatiha and a second chapter is recited, then one should, based on an obligatory precaution, recite takbir five times in the first unit, and four times in the second unit, and perform the qunoot after each takbir. After the prayer has been completed, as an obligatory precaution, the imam of the congregation should deliver two sermons separated by sitting briefly.
 
The Ghufaila Prayer
 
This is a two-unit prayer offered between Maghrib and Isha prayers.
 
Ruling 306: In the first unit the 87th verse of the 21st chapter (al-Anbiya) should be recited after Suratul-Fatiha. In the second unit the 59th verse of the 6th chapter (al-An’am) should be recited after Suratul-Fatiha.
 
Ruling 307: One should recite the following in the qunoot: “Allahumma Inni As’aluka bi-Mafatihil-Ghaibil-lati la Ya’lamuha illa Anta An Tusalliya Ala Muhammadin wa Aali Muhammad, wa An Taf’ala bee...” and then one should express his wishes and continue reciting: “Allahumma Anta Waliyyu Ni’mati wal-Qadiru Ala Talibati, Ta’lamu Hajjati, Fa’as’aluka Bihaqqi Muhammadin wa Aalihi Alaihi wa Alaihimus-Salam Lima Qadhayta’ha lee.” And then one should seek his wishes.
 
Ruling 308: This prayer substitutes for two units of the supererogatory prayers of Maghrib.
 
The Prayer of the Night of Burial
 
Ruling 309: This prayer consists of two units and is offered during the first night after the burial of a deceased believer. It is commonly called the prayer of Wahsha.
 
Ruling 310: In the first unit, Ayatul-Kursi is recited after Suratul-Fatiha, and in the second unit the 97th chapter ‘al-Qadr’ is recited ten times after Suratul-Fatiha. After the tasleem, the following is recited: “Allahumma Salli Ala Muhammadin wa Aali Muhammad wab’ath Thawabaha ila Qabri...” and then the name of the deceased is mentioned.
 
Ruling 311: It is recommended to give to charity on behalf of the deceased during this night.
 
The Prayer of Istikhara (Seeking the Best Option)
 
Many narrations have expressed encouragement to do istikhara whenever embarking on any matter. The purpose of it is to supplicate to Allah Almighty that He chooses the best course of action for His servant in the matter; so if in taking a particular path there is good, He may cause it to become available and easy, and if not, He may take him away from that path.
 
Ruling 312: Different ways of istikhara have been narrated; amongst them is the prayer of istikhara which consists of two units, in which one recites Suratul-Fatiha followed by any other chapter – while the chapter Al-Ikhlas has been especially preferred in the first unit, and the chapter Al-Kafiroon in the second unit. After completing the prayer one should praise Allah and invocate for the blessings and mercies of Allah on the Prophet and his progeny (peace be upon them all), and then recite: “Allahumma In Kana Hadhal-Amru Khairan lee fee Deeni wa Dunyai fa-Yassir’hu lee wa Qaddir’h, wa In Kana Ghaira Dhalika Fasrif’hu Anni.”
 
Ruling 313: After completing this it is necessary to bind oneself to what Allah has decided for him, so it is not an insult to Him in His judgment.

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