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3. Prayer (Ṣalāh)

Prayer is the best act of worship; if it is accepted by the Lord of the worlds, then all other ritual acts of worship (ʿibādāt are accepted; and if it is not accepted, then all other acts of worship are not accepted. In the same way that no dirt would remain on one’s body if he were to wash himself in a stream five times in a day, performing the five daily prayers cleanses a person of sins. It is befitting for one to perform prayers at the start of their prescribed time (awwal al‐waqt, and one who considers prayers lowly and unimportant is like one who does not perform prayers. The most noble Messenger (Ṣ) said: ‘One who does not give importance to prayers and considers them unimportant deserves chastisement in the Hereafter.’ Once, when His Eminence (Ṣ) was in the mosque, a man entered and began performing prayers but did not perform the bowing (rukūʿ) and prostration (sajdah) properly. His Eminence (Ṣ) said: ‘If this man dies while his prayers are like this, he will not leave this world adhering to my religion.’

Therefore, one must be careful not to perform prayers in a hurry; and while performing prayers, one should remember Allah, be humble, submissive, dignified, and mindful of whom he is communicating with; and he should consider himself extremely low and insignificant in relation to the greatness and grandeur of the Lord of the worlds. If a person is completely mindful of this matter while performing prayers, he will become oblivious to his own self, just as the Commander of the Faithful, ʿAlī (ʿA), was when an arrow was pulled out from his blessed foot while he was performing prayers. Furthermore, one must repent and seek forgiveness and not commit sins that are obstacles to prayers being accepted; sins such as jealousy, pride, backbiting, eating unlawful (ḥarām) things, drinking intoxicating beverages, and not paying the one-fifth tax (khums or the alms-tax (zakat). In fact, one must refrain from all sins. Similarly, it is befitting that one does not do anything that diminishes the reward of prayers; for example, one should not perform prayers while sleepy or needing to go to the toilet, nor should one look at the sky while performing prayers. Instead, one should do things that increase the reward of prayers; for example, one should wear a ring with an agate (ʿaqīq) stone, wear clean clothes, comb his hair, brush his teeth, and apply perfume.

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  • Ruling 716

    While travelling, one must perform the four rakʿah prayers as two rakʿahs in accordance with the conditions that will be mentioned later.

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  • Ruling 717

    The time for ẓuhr and ʿaṣr prayers is from zawāl [i.e. the time after midday when the sun begins to decline] (known as the ‘legal midday’ (al‐ẓuhr al‐sharʿī))1 until sunset (ghurūb). However, in the event that one intentionally (ʿamdan) performs the …

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  • Ruling 718

    If someone inadvertently (sahwan) starts performing the ʿaṣr prayer before he has performed the ẓuhr prayer and he realises this mistake in the middle of the prayer, he must change his intention to ẓuhr prayers, i.e. he must make the intention …

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  • Ruling 719

    The Friday prayer consists of two rakʿahs like the ṣubḥ prayer, with the difference that in the Friday prayer, two sermons must be delivered before it. The Friday prayer is an optional obligation (al‐wājib al‐takhyīrī), meaning that on Fridays, …

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  • Ruling 720

    Whenever the Friday prayer takes place with all its conditions fulfilled, if the one establishing it is the infallible Imam (ʿA) or his specific representative, it is obligatory to attend it; otherwise, it is not obligatory. In the …

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  • Ruling 721

    If the Friday prayer is obligatory on someone but he performs the ẓuhr prayer instead, his prayer is valid.

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  • Ruling 722

    If a person doubts (i.e. has a shakk) whether the sun has set or not and deems it probable that it is hidden behind mountains, buildings, or trees, he must not perform the maghrib prayer before the redness of …

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  • Ruling 723

    For a person under normal circumstances, the time for the maghrib prayer is until midnight, but for a helpless person – who due to forgetfulness, oversleeping, menstruation (ḥayḍ), or suchlike did not perform prayers before midnight – the time …

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  • Ruling 724

    If someone mistakenly performs the ʿishāʾ prayer before the maghrib prayer and realises his mistake after the prayer, his prayer is valid and he must perform the maghrib prayer after it.

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  • Ruling 725

    If before performing the maghrib prayer one inadvertently engages in performing the ʿishāʾ prayer and realises during the prayer that he has made a mistake, in the event that he has not performed the rukūʿ of the fourth rakʿah, he must …

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