Prayer and its rules Part 1

Prayer is the best among all acts of worship. If it is accepted by the Almighty Allah, other acts of worship are also accepted. And if it is not accepted, other acts are also not accepted. 

Prayer and its rules Part 1

Introduction

Prayer is the best among all acts of worship. If it is accepted by the Almighty Allah, other acts of worship are also accepted. And if it is not accepted, other acts are also not accepted. 

Offering of prayers five times during day and night purifies us of sins in the same manner as bathing five times during day and night makes our body clean from all filth and dirt. 

It is befitting that one should offer prayers punctually. A person who considers prayers to be something ordinary and unimportant is just like one who does not offer prayers at all. The holy Prophet has said that a person who does not attach any importance to prayers and considers it to be something insignificant deserves chastisement in the hereafter. 

Once, while the holy Prophet was present in the Mosque (i.e. Masjidun Nabi), a man entered and began offering prayers but did not perform the Ruku' and Sajdah properly. The holy Prophet said: "If this man dies and his prayers continue to be in this way, he will not depart on my religion". Hence, one should not offer his or her prayers hurriedly. While offering prayers one should remember Allah constantly and should offer the prayers humbly and with all solemnity. One should keep in mind the Greatness of Almighty Allah with whom one communes while offering prayers and should consider oneself to be very humble and insignificant before His Grandeur and Glory.

If a person keeps himself absorbed in these thoughts while performing prayers he becomes unmindful and oblivious to himself, just as when an arrow was pulled out of the foot of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (peace be on him) while he was offering prayers but he did not become aware of it. 

Furthermore, one who performs prayers should be repentant and should refrain from all sins especially those which are an impediment in the way of acceptance of one's prayers (e.g. jealousy, pride, backbiting, eating haraam things, drinking intoxicating beverages, non-payment of Khums and Zakat). In fact, he should refrain from all sins. 

Similarly, he should avoid acts which diminish the reward for prayers like praying when one is drowsy or restless because of an urge to urinate, and while offering prayers he should not look up towards the sky. On the other hand, one should perform such acts which increase the reward like wearing an Aqiq, wearing clean clothes, combing the hair, brushing the teeth and using perfume.

Obligatory Prayer

The following six prayers are obligatory: 

Daily pryers. 

Prayer-e-Ayaat. 

Prayer of Mayyit. 

Prayer for the obligatory Tawaf of the holy Ka'bah. 

Qadha Prayer of father which are, as a precaution, obligatory upon his eldest son. 

Prayer which become obligatory on account of hire, vow or oath. 

Prayer of Jumuah is included in the Daily Prayer.

 Obligatory daily Prayer

It is obligatory to perform the following five prayers during day and night: 

Dawn prayers (Fajr) - 2 Rak'ats. 

Midday (Zuhr) and Afternoon prayers ('Asr) - each one consisting of 4 Rak'ats. 

Dusk prayers (Maghrib) - 3 Rak'ats

The Night prayers ('Isha) - 4 Rak'ats. 

- While travelling, a traveller should reduce the prayers of 4 Rak'ats to 2 Rak'ats. The conditions under which the Rak'ats are reduced will be mentioned later. 

Time for Zuhr and Asr prayer

- If a stick, a pole, or anything similar to it, which acts as an indicator (shakhis) is made to stand on a level ground, its shadow will fall westwards when the sun rises in the morning, and as the sun continues to rise the shadow cast by the indicator will reduce in size. And in our cities it becomes smaller at the time of the commencement of Zuhr. 
And as Zuhr passes the shadow cast by the indicator turns eastwards, and as the sun moves towards west the shadow gets longer. Based on this, when the shadow is the shortest, and it begins getting longer again, it is known that Zuhr has taken place. However, in other cities like in Mecca, the shadow disappears totally, so, when it reappears it indicates Zuhr. 

- The time for Zuhr and Asr prayers is from when the sun starts declining at midday till sunset. But, if a person intentionally offers Asr prayers earlier than Zuhr prayers, his prayer is void. However, if a person had not prayed Zuhr till the end of time, and the time left before Qadha allows only one Prayer to be prayed, he will first offer Asr prayers in time and then his Zuhr will be Qadha. 

If before that time a person offers complete Asr prayers before Zuhr prayers by mistake, his prayer is valid. But as a recommended precaution, he should treat that Prayer as Zuhr and should offer 4 more Rak'ats of prayers with the intention of relieving oneself of responsibility, if any (Ala mafi zzimmah). 

- If a person begins offering Asr prayers forgetfully before Zuhr prayers and during the prayers he realises that he has committed a mistake, he should revert his Niyyat to Zuhr prayers i.e. he should intend that from now onwards till the end of the prayers, it would be Zuhr prayers. After completing the prayers, he will offer Asr prayers. 

Prayer of Jumuah

- Friday prayers consists of 2 Rak'ats like Fajr prayers. The difference between these two prayers is that Prayer of Jumuah has two sermons before it. Prayer of Jumuah is Wajib Takhyiri, which means that we have an option to offer Jumuah prayers, if its necessary conditions are fulfilled, or to offer Zuhr prayers. Hence, if Prayer of Jumuah is offered then it is not necessary to offer Zuhr prayer. 

The following conditions must be fulfilled for Jumuah prayers to become obligatory: 

The time for Jumuah prayers should have set in. And that means that the midday time should have begun to decline. The time for Prayer of Jumuah is the earliest part of Zuhr. If it is very much delayed, then Prayer of Jumuah time will be over, and Zuhr Prayer will have to be prayed. 

The number of persons joining Prayer of Jumuah should be at least five, including the Imam. If there are less than five people, Prayer of Jumuah would not become obligatory. 

The Imam should fulfil the necessary conditions for leading the prayers. These conditions include ('Adalat) to be Just and other qualities which are required of an Imam and which will be mentioned in connection with the congregational prayers. In absence of an Imam qualifying to lead, Jumuah Prayer will not be obligatory. 

The following conditions should be fulfilled for the Jumuah Prayer to be correct: 

The prayers should be offered in congregation. Hence, Jumuah Prayer cannot be prayed alone. If a person joins Jumuah Prayer before the Ruku of the second Rak'at his prayers will be valid and he will have to add another Rak'at to complete it. But, if he joins the Imam in the Ruku of the second Rak'at then the prayers may not suffice, and as a measure of precaution Zuhr Prayer should be prayed. 

Two sermons should be delivered before the prayers. In the first sermon the preacher should praise Allah and exhort the people to observe piety, and then he should also recite a short chapter (Surah) from the holy Qur'an. Thereafter he should sit down for a while and then stand up again. This time also he should praise Allah and invoke peace and blessings upon the holy Prophet and the holy Imams and, as a recommended precaution, seek forgiveness for the believers. It is necessary that the two sermons should precede the Prayer. 
It will not be correct to offer the prayers before the two sermons. And, it is not permissible to deliver the sermons before Zuhr time has set in. It is also necessary that the preacher should be standing while delivering the sermons. Hence, if he delivers sermons while sitting, it will not be in order. It is also necessary and obligatory that there should be a break between the two sermons by way of sitting down during the interval for a while. It is also necessary that the preacher who delivers the sermons should also lead the prayers.

Taharat may not be a condition for delivering the sermons, but as a precaution, it should be maintained. As far as the glory of Allah, invocation of prayers and mercy upon the Prophet and the Imams are concerned, it must be rendered in Arabic, but the rest of it need not be in Arabic. In fact, if the majority in the audience are non-Arabs, then as an obligatory precaution, words of admonition and exhorting people to be pious and virtuous should be delivered in their language. 

The distance between the two places where Jumuah Prayer are offered should not be less than one Farsakh (3 miles). Hence if the distance between the two places is lesser and both the prayers commence at one and the same time both will be void. And if one of those prayers precedes the other (even to the extent of Takbiratul-ehram i.e. the first Takbir) the one which precedes will be in order and the other will be void. 

If, it transpires after the Jumuah Prayer is over that another Jumuah Prayer had commenced earlier or simultaneously at a distance of less than farsakh, it will not be obligatory to offer Zuhr prayers. It is immaterial whether this information is received within the time or later. Moreover, a Jumuah Prayer can stop another from being held within the stipulated distance only if it is itself valid, comprising of all conditions, otherwise it cannot have any prohibitive effect. 

- When Jumuah Prayer, with all its requirements is held, it will be obligatory to attend it if one who established it is Imam (A.S.) or his representative. But in a situation other than this, joining or attending it is not obligatory. 

When attending is obligatory, the following points must be considered: 

* The person joining should be man. Presence in Jumuah prayers is not obligatory for women. 

* Freedom. Hence it is not obligatory for a slave to be present in Jumuah prayers. 

* Not being a traveller. Hence Jumuah prayers is not obligatory for a traveller, regardless of whether the traveller prays Qasr or full prayers, as he would do if he intends staying for 10 days or more. 

* Being free from ailment and blindness. Hence it is not obligatory for a sick or a blind man to offer Jumuah prayers. 

* Not being old. Hence Jumuah prayers is not obligatory for an old men. 

* That the distance between the place a person is and where Jumuah prayers is going to be held should not be more than 2 farsakh (11 Km) and it would be obligatory for a person who is at the end of 2 farsakh to join the Prayer. Similarly,  participation in Jumuah prayers will not be obligatory for a person who finds it extremely difficult, because of rain, severe cold and so on. 

- A few rules concerning Jumuah prayers: 

* It is permissible for a person, who is exempted from Jumuah prayers, and for whom presence in Jumuah prayers is not obligatory, to hasten for Zuhr prayers in the early part of its time. 

* It is Makrooh to talk while Imam delivers the sermon. And if the noise created by talking prevents others from listening to the sermon, then it is haraam, regardless of whether the attendance is the minimum required or more. 

* As an obligatory precaution, it is wajib to listen to both sermons. However, listening to the sermons is not obligatory upon those, who do not understand their meanings. 

* The second Adhan on Friday is an innovation. And it is the same Adhan which is usually called the third Adhan. 

* It is not obligatory for a person wishing to join Jumuah Prayer to be present while Imam is delivering the sermon. 

* Conducting purchase and sales at the time when people are called to Jumuah prayers is haraam, if it hinders the prayers, and not if it does not hinder. And in spite of it being haraam, the transaction done would not be void. When it was obligatory for a person to be present in Jumuah prayers and he abandoned it, and offered Zuhr prayers, his prayers would be in order.