True, majority of us, Muslims observe salaat. Equally true, majority of us do not perform salaat correctly. So, a brief description to how a Muslim should perform salaat is necessary. This brief description is of course that of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), since he said:
"Pray as you have seen me praying" (Bukhari).
Prayer was one of the most important things which Rasulullah (PBUH) explained to the people, verbally and practically, even praying on the pulpit once - standing, bowing and prostrating and then saying to them,
"I have done this so that you may follow and learn my prayer" (Muslim)
When all the prerequisites of prayer (check last edition) has been satisfied and the iqamah (not compulsory for women) recited, salaat should be performed in the following order:
Intention: As has been often said, should be from the heart. It is not to be said (uttered) for the Prophet (PBUH) never did such.
Saying the Opening Takhir: Takbir is saying Allahu Akbar. The hands should be raised up to the shoulder level at least, but preferably at the ear level.
Qiyam: This is the standing after the takbir. The Prophet.(PBUH)made some supplications, then recited Suratul Fatiha and another Sura (for the last two raka'aahs of salaatul Zuhri, Asr and Isha'i and the last raka'aah of Maghrib, only Suratul Fatiha is recited). The recitation should not be rushed.
In this position, the believer's eyes is fixed on the place of sujud; Allah's Messenger (PBUH) forbade looking around (Trimidhi) or at the sky (Abu Dawud). During standing, the hands are placed on the chest, with the right on top of the left (Ahmad).
Rukuu': After the recitation, hands are raised for takbir, the Muslim goes into the bowing position (rukuu')' In this position the hands will be placed firmly on the knees, the back straightened, the head should neither be dropped or raised higher than the back, rather it should be in between. In Rukuu', suhhanarahbiya-l-'azeem meaning "How perfect is my Lord, the Supreme," is the commonest of the supplications (du'a) Allah's Prophet (PBUH)recited in rukuu'. It is to be said at least 3 times.
Standing from Rukuu': While standing up from rukuu', say: 'sami'allahu liman amida' meaning: "Allah listens to the one who praises Him;" and when erect say, 'rabbanaa walakal hamd' meaning: "Our Lord, (and) to You be all Praise;". The believer should then say Allaahu Akbar and go down for sajdah.
Sajdah: This is the position of prostration; it is commonly referred to as sujud. Five parts of the body must touch the floor: the toes of the feet; the two knees; the two palms; the nose and the fore-head when prostrating. Only the palms should touch the ground, anywhere from the wrist upwards should not touch the ground.
The toes and fingers should point towards the qibla. Out of all the du'a Rasulullah (PBUH) used in sajdah, subhana rabbiya-l-a'la' meaning "How perfect is my Lord, the .'Most High" said at least three times is the commonest. A Muslim is permitted to supplicate in sujud. .
Rising from Sajdah: the head is raised from prostration saying Allahu Akbar, and then sitting on the left thigh and say: "rabbigh-fir lii, rahbigh-fir lii" meaning: "O My Lord, forgive me, forgive me."
The Second Sajdah: say the takbir and go down for the next sajdah and repeat the du'a said in the first. This second sajdah is the end of the raka'aah. Raising the head and saying Allahu Akbar, a believer, either rises for the next raka'aah or sits for the tashahhud after completing two raka'aah.
The Tashahhud: This is what is recited at the sitting at the end of the second raka'aah and/or at the end of a prayer. The sitting may be like that between the two sajdah. The palms will be placed on the knees and say:
"At-tahiyyatulillahi, az-zaakiyaatulillahi, atsalaatultayyibaatus-salawaatulillahi, as-salaamu 'alaykaayyuha-n-nabiyyu warahmatullahi wabarakaatu as should salaamu 'alaynaawa 'alaaibaadillahi-s-saalihin. Ashhaduan la ilahaillallahu, waashhaduannaMuhammadaan 'abduhuwarasuul'' meaning
"All Praises are due to Allah, all pure titles are due to Allah; all good words; all prayers are due to Allah. Peace be on you, o Prophet, and also the mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be on us and on the righteous slaves of Allah. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. "
Then pray for the Prophet (PBUH) (the popular salaatuI braheemah is okay) and yourself If it is the end of the salaat, you say the tasleem: as-salaamalaykum to the right first and then say as-salamalaykum to the left.
This is a simple description of the Prophet (PBUH) prayer. Let us all follow it, for Allah says:
"Whatever the Messenger gives you take; and whatever he forbids you, from that abstain: "(Q59:8)
We should be careful of all additions and subtractions to this brief description that was not done or ordered by the Prophet (PBUH).
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited