The Types of Prayer
What are disliked during prayer but do not invalidate it:
There are certain actions that one should avoid during prayer. They do not invalidate the prayer, but may certainly reduce the reward that one may obtain. Some of these actions are covered in the previous lesson.
- Playing with clothing or a part of the body unnecessarily.
- Looking up towards the sky.
- Looking at what is distracting, or thinking of other things.
- Feeling the need to go to the bathroom (using the bathroom should be done before prayer if one feels the need).
There is some confusion amongst many Muslims on this point. Some believe that one can make up all the prayers that one left in the past. That is obviously referring to the ones left intentionally. This is discussed at length in the Salah Level II lessons. For the purpose of this unit, the rulings on missed prayers are:
- Any prayer missed intentionally cannot be made up. It is gone, and one must make sincere repentance for this.
- If you oversleep, you must perform any prayer you have missed while sleeping, immediately upon waking up.
- If you forget, you must perform any prayer you have missed, immediately when you remember.
- These prayers can be performed during the forbidden times of prayer.
- You must perform any missed prayers in its proper sequence.
You decide to sleep in the afternoon before Asr. You wake up at Maghrib time. You must make wudhu immediately and perform Asr first and then Maghrib salah. Let us say you forgot to make Asr and it is after Eshaa already. You should perform Asr without delay as soon as you realize it. If you remember at Eshaa time and you have not performed Eshaa yet, then you should perform Asr first followed by Eshaa.
If you performed say Dhuhr, and later in the day you remember that you did not have wudhu while performing Dhuhr. You must redo it immediately. If you invalidate your wudhu during the prayer, you must stop and leave immediately to go and perform wudhu and return to the salah, starting from the beginning again.
Arriving late for prayers:
There are very fundamental rules that one should follow when arriving late for congregational prayers. They are:
- Never run towards the congregation. Continue to walk at a normal calm pace even though you may be late.
- Join the congregation in whatever position they are in. You must first, say your first Takbir, raise your hands and then put them on your chest, stand for a moment and make another Takbir, and then go into the position the rest of the congregation is in (assuming they are not standing). You should not start your prayer by going directly into rukuh or sujood.
- You make up the number of units that you have missed. A rak’ah is considered missed if you missed the Rukuh position or if you ‘caught’ the rukuh position but you were not able (not enough time) to recite at least once “Subhana-rabbi-al ’atheem” (See ‘What to read in Salah’ lessons for the correct transliteration).
- If you come in while the Imam is coming to the standing position from the prostration position, take care not to start before he is out of the prostration position, otherwise you will be ahead of him.
- Do not wait for the congregation to stand if you find them in sujood. Join them as described above, even though you will have to redo that unit of prayer.
- If you arrive and the congregation is finished, then you may start your own congregation. If there is no other person to join you, then you may perform the salah on your own. You may also ‘join-on’ to another person that came late and is now standing to complete his units. This action is covered in detail in Salah Level II.
Mistakes (forgetting) during prayers.
On occasions one may make a mistake (forget) during prayer. On some occasions even the Imam may make a mistake (forget) during congregational prayers. The categories of mistakes are basically two, either adding or subtracting from the salah. The mistakes that require one to perform Sujood-as-Sahw (Prostration for forgetfulness) are:
- Forgetting to sit in the middle tashahud.
- Doing one sajdah instead of two.
- Performing tashahud at the end of the first rak’ah.
- Doing three prostrations.
- Forgetting in which rak’ah you are, causing you to do one of the following:
- Sitting in the third rak’ah believing that it is the last.
- Standing to make a fifth rak’ah.
- Praying three rak’ah instead of four.
Allah in His mercy has given us a way of rectifying any mistake (forgetfulness) we may make in our salah. He could have had us repeat the whole salah, which meant you could go on forever as each time you may make a mistake. Allah has only required that we should perform two additional sajda’s to cover up for our forgetfulness. They are called ‘Sujood-as-Sahw’. Prostration for forgetfulness. Note that Sujood-as-Sahw does not apply to mistakes in recitation. Normally the recitation mistakes are corrected during the salah, in the audible prayers.
The time for Sujood-as-Sahw:
The sujood can be done at two possible times: Either before the tasleem (saying “Asalamu Alaykum”) or after the second tasleem.
According to the sunnah there are rules governing as to when we do it before and when we do it after, depending on the mistake made. These details are covered in the Salah Level II units. For the purpose of this unit it suffices to know the method.
Some other Important Points:
The following points/subjects are covered in detail in the Level II and advanced lessons, but I would like to mention them here briefly so that you are aware of them as you may come across it sooner rather than later.
Sajdah-Tilaawah (Sujood of recitation):
There are certain parts in the Qur’aan where Allah orders one, or refers to, performing sujood. When one reads this in salah (or out of salah), it is sunnah to perform sujood. Hence you may find that in a salah where the Imam recites that particular verse, he then pronounces the takbir, and will perform sujood from the standing position, and will pronounce takbir again and return to the standing position (without ruk’uh), and continue reciting from where he stopped. This is very common in Salatul-Fajr on a Friday.
Suppliclation in Salah:
Known as Qunoot. You may find the Imam making a supplication in the last rak’ah of the salah after coming up from ruk’uh and before going into sujood.
The method of Eid salah, is slightly different. There are more than one (6 or 9) takbirs before the Imam starts reciting the opening surah.
Janazah Salah (Salah for the deceased):
This salah is performed in the standing position only (no ruk’uh, sitting or sujood) and there are 4 takbirs, followed by tasleem to the right only.