Friday, 10 April 2015

How to perform Salah/ Namaz/ prayers as per Shia Islam

In Shia Islam 2 Rakaah/cycles Salaah/ Namaaz/ prayer is basic standard form of prayers. Among Waajib/ obligatory prayers Fajr/ pre dawn prayers consist of 2 Rakaah/ cycles of prayers. A set of different actions and recitations associated with it makes 1 rakaa/ cycle. In Shia Islam major actions of salaah include Qiyaam/ standing, Ruku/ bowing, Qunut/ supplication, Sajda/ prostration, Jalsa/ sitting and Rafa-Yadain/ raising hands.

In Shia Islam major recitations associated with above actions are Takbiir/ declaring Allah/ God’s Greatness by saying ‘Allahu Akbar/ God is Great, Qirat/ recitation of chapters of Holy Qur’an, Qunut/ making supplication, Zikr/ Tasbiih/ declaring Allah/ God’s praises, Tashahud/ declaration of faith and Tasliim/Salaam/ Salutations on Prophet Mohammed and his house-hold. Qirat/ recitation include Surah Faatiha (Opening, 1st Surah/ chapter of Holy Qur’an, consisting of seven Aayat/ verses) and any other complete surah/ chapters of Holy Qur’an. Unlike other sects where recitations of mere three aayat/ verses of Holy Qur’an could be recited, Shia Islam require recitation of complete surah/ chapter of Holy Qur’an no matter whether lengthy one or short one but it should be complete.

In Shia Islam 2 rakaah/ cycle standard prayer is as follow:

One who intends to perform salaah should stands facing Qibla/ the epi-centre of worship, makes an intention in mind about the specific prayer solely to worship Allah/ God.

Then one raises hands with palms open they too facing Qibla up to ear’s level. When one does this one audibly says ‘Allahu Akbar/ God is Great’, as called ‘Takbir’. Now, one has started to perform salaah and cannot do other things until one completes, else salaah will be void.

After the above step, in Shia Islam one let one’s hands hanging loose as in natural normal standing position. This action is called Qiyam/ standing. Non-Shia sects usually fold their hands on chest, stomach or navel, but in Shia Islam hands are left loose to hang. This action is major difference between Shia salaah and Non-Shia salaah. During Qiyam/ standing one recites Surah Faatiha (Opening, 1st Surah/ chapter of Holy Qur’an, consisting of seven Aayat/ verses). Shia Islam requires one to recite ‘Bismillah..../ In the name of God....’ audibly, and as first verse of the said chapter. Non-Shia sect do not consider ‘Bismillah..../ In the name of God....’ as a verse of the said chapter rather split the last verse into two to make the number count seven. After the recitation of Surah Faatiha Shia Islam recommends to audibly uttering this phrase ‘Alhamdulillah/ Praises be to God’, at chapter’s end Shia Muslims dont utter ‘Aamin’ unlike Non-Shia who utter it.

After Faatiha, Shia Islam requires one to recite any atleast one additional chapter of Holy Qur’an, but Shia Islam require complete recitation of that chapter. Here too Shia Islam separates itself from others because Non-Shia require minimum of any three verses of Holy Qur’an. Also, here too ‘Bismillah..../ In the name of God....’ is audibly recited as a verse of chapter. With this Qirat is complete.

Next action is Ruku/ Bowing, before bowing Shia Islam requires to utter ‘Allahu Akbar/ God is Great’ and do Rafa-yadain/ raise hands. One bends one’s self and place palms on the knees yet keep the back as straight as possible. During this step one can recite either 'Subhaan Rabbi al Aziime wa bi hamd/ Glory be to my Lord the High and I praise Him’ once or one can simply recite ‘Subhaan Allah/ Glory be to God’ thrice

After this one stands straight again and recite ‘Sami Allahu liman Hamida/ God hears one who praises Him’

Now, Ruku is complete and one has to go to Sajda/ prostrations, which is allowed only on permissible stuffs like mud etc. Before going to prostration once again one does Rafa-Yadain/ raise hands and utter ‘Allahu Akbar/ God is Great’, then one puts palms first on the ground and later knees, then one proceeds to put forehead on ground. So in total seven parts i.e. both larger toes of legs, both knees, both palms and forehead is placed on ground, women should place their hands up to elbows on ground. During this step one recite ‘Subhaan Rabbi al A’ala wa bi Hamd/ Glory be to my Lord the Supreme and I praise Him’ once or one can simply recite ‘Subhaan Allah/ Glory be to God’ thrice.

One gets up to sitting position and does Rafa-Yadain/ raise hands and Recites ‘Allahu Akbar/ God is Great’, one sits with palms on thighs, sitting such that right upper foot should rest on sole of left foot. After momentarily sitting, one does raise hands and recite 'Allahu Akbar’ once again and proceeds of second prostration, same as first sajda and again get up saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ and raising hands. This action completes one’s first rakaa/ cycle.

After sitting momentarily one places both palms on ground and gets up first lifting knees and then palms, while trying to stand one recites ‘Bi haw lillaahi wa quwwatihi aqumu wa aq’ud/ I sit and stand with the help of the strength of God’.

One begins second rakaah/ cycle by recitation of Surah Faatiha and repeats the same procedure but after Surah Faatiha any other chapter other than recited in first rakaah/ cycle is recited. One has to follow the same procedure except a slight change that in Second rakah/ cycle before going to Ruku/ bowing one does Qunut/ supplication in Shia Islam.

For performing Qunut/ supplication once again one does raise hands and recite ‘Allahu Akbar’ momentarily let hands to hang loose and then once again raise them such that palms face sky/ roof and are at face level and begin to supplicate. This is the only action when one is free to seek what one desires that too in one’s own language. Preferably, any Qur’anic (Qunut) supplications are used. After it one proceeds for ruku/ bowing with yet another raising hands and ‘Allahu Akbar’, and then Sajda/ prostrations after Ruku/ Bowing.

Procedure remains same as in first rakaah/ cycle, but after second sajda/prostration of second rakaah/cycle when one sits one begins Tashahud/ Declaration of Faith. Shia Muslims do not raise or rotate index finger while Tashahud which is done by Non-Shia.

Many Shia Muslims consider to recite additional Third Tashahud followed by aforesaid Tashahud as required, while other Shia Muslims consider it not allowed during salaah, it depends on which teaching one follows.

After Tashahud one proceeds to recite Taslim/ Salaam/ Salutations. After this one instantly does Rafa-Yadain/ Raise hands three times each time uttering ‘Allahu Akbar/ God is Great’ with this final action and recitation one’s 2 cycle salaah is complete and one exits from it.

If one intends to perform three rakaah/ cycle prayers, one should not recite Taslim/Salaam/ Salutations after Tashahud, and should get up as one got up for second Rakaah/cycle. Now, either one stands momentarily without reciting anything or one recites just Surah Fatiha without an additional chapter, or yet as a third option one recites Tasbihaat Al Arba/ The four praises thrice. Any of the three options will suffice; other later procedure is same as first rakaah/ cycle’s, after sajda/prostrations recite Tashahud and Taslim/ Salam/ Salutations to end the prayer.

If one intends to perform four rakaah/ cycle prayers, one should neither recite Tashahud nor Taslim/Salaam/ Salutations after third rakaah/ cycle’s Sajda/ prostrations, and should get up as one got up for second Rakaah/ cycle. Here too, either one stands momentarily without reciting anything or one recites just Surah Fatiha without an additional chapter, or yet as a third option one recites
Tasbihaat Al Arba/ The four praises thrice Here too any of the three options will suffice, other later procedure is same as first rakaah/ cycle’s, after sajda/prostrations recite Tashahud and Taslim/ Salam/ Salutations to end the prayer.

Back to: Salah/ Namaz/ Prayers in Shia Islam

Oh Allah! Peace and Salutation be upon Mohammed and House-hold of Mohammed. 

Salah/ Namaz/ Prayers in Shia Islam

Salaah/ Namaaz/ Prayer is first among Fur'u Deen/ Branches of Faith in Shia Islam. Salaah is performed in sets of 2, 3, 4 sets of rakaah/ cycles. A number of actions and recitations consist of one rakaah/ cycle. Depending on which salaah is being performed 2, 3 or 4 number of rakaah/ cycles are repeated to complete specific salaah.

Actions in a rakaah/ cycle include Qiyaam/ Standing, Ruku/ Bowing, Sajda/ Prostration, Jalsa/ Sitting, Qunut/ Supplication, Rafa Yadain/ Hand Raising. Each action has a recitation associated with it, thus when particular action is being performed an associated recitation is recited. Only Arabic language is used for recitations, major recitations are chapters of Holy Qur’an.

There are several pre-requisites and other requirements to perform salaah without which salaah is invalid. Both minor and major Tahaarah/ Spiritual purity is required when one performs salaah. Niyyah/ Intention solely for worship of Allah/ God is required for salaah. Required body parts should remain covered when one performs salaah i.e. from navel to knees for men and whole body for women except for face, hands below wrists and foots below ankles.

One must face Qibla/ Epi-centre of worship, which is the Ka’ba situated in Masjid al Haram/ The Holy Mosque, Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Specified time/ condition should have set in for one to perform particular salaah. When one starts the salaah one is forbidden to talk, move (except for required actions), laugh, turn face, eat, drink, and look around etc till one completes the salaah.

In Shia Islam salaah cannot be performed with najis/ spiritually impure clothes or at dirty places. Shia Islam also requires permission to perform salaah from land owner without which salaah is invalid in Shia Islam. Shia Islam does not allow salaah to be performed at such places which obstruct walking or traffic ie roads, streets; any usurped land or graveyard. In Shia Islam men are as usual forbidden to wear silk or gold, yet if a man performs salaah wearing gold or silk his salaah becomes invalid.

Shia Islam does not promote salaah as best exercise, best workout, best weight losing technique, best aerobics, best stretching, best solution for knee problems/ blood pressure/ diabetes etc, best exercise to let blood reach several so claimed isolated regions of brain. Shia Islam also does not promote salaah as best solution to deal with mental stress, finances, insomnia etc, there are several Non-Shia sects which promote Salaah as having aforesaid benefits, Shia Islam consider such ideas as stupidity and consider it to invalidate one’s salaah, sole niyyah/ intention for salaah in Shia Islam should be worship of Allah/ God, the moment intentions include anything else it will not be deemed as worship and thus salaah becomes only prayer-less actions. Shia Islam thus require one to do enough of exercise, workout, aerobics etc if one really desires so, but when the person performs salaah it should be solely worship!

In Shia Islam there are several Waajib/ obligatory salaah, some others are Mustahab/ recommended while yet some others are Nafila/ extra prayers, although even mustahab/ recommended prayers are performed as extra and not obligatory. Waajib/ obligatory salaah include five daily prayers, salaat ul Janaza/ funeral prayers, salaat ul Aayat/ prayers when several of celestial/natural phenomena occur ie: solar & lunar eclipses, earthquakes, cyclones etc. 

Wajib/ obligatory salaah are better to be offered in congregation, which is preceded by 'Azaan/Call for Prayers' and 'Iqaama/ Set up for Prayers'.

There are several prayers in Shia Islam which during occultation of current 12th Imam Mohammed Mahdi have become Mustahab/ recommended from Wajib/ obligatory, these are Eid/ festival and Jum’a/ Friday prayers. Other Mustahab/ recommended and Nafila/ extra prayers are performed in addition with daily prayers.

The five daily salaah in Shia Islam are Fajr/ pre-dawn, Zuhr/ afternoon, Asr/ evening, Maghrib/ sunset and Isha/ night. Of these salaah Fajr/ pre-dawn consist of 2 rakaah/ cycles, Zuhr/ afternoon consist of 4 cycles, Asr/ evening consist of 4 cycles, Maghrib/ sunset consist of 3 cycles and Isha/ night consist of 4 cycles. Salaat tul Aayat/Eclipse etc, Salaatul Jum’a/ friday, Salaatul Eid/ festival prayers consist of 2 cycles. In Shia Islam these five daily prayers are performed at three times by performing Zuhr/ afternoon and Asr/ evening prayers in one go, and Maghrib/ sunset and Isha/ night prayers in one go.

Taahajjud/ Salatul Layl/ Extra Night prayers are Mustahab/ recommended prayers consisting 11 cycles. In Shia Islam Mustahab/ recommended prayers no matter how many rakaah/ cycles, are offered in sets of 2 rakaah/cycles. One exception here is that Salatul Layl whose eleventh the final rakaah/cycle is offered as 1 rakaah/cycle, this particular one is known as 'Witr', it is most important among recommended prayers. Even Nafila/ extra prayers are offered in sets of 2 rakaah/cycles. Salaatul Aayat/ eclipses etc, Jum’a (Friday) earthquakes, cyclones etc, Salatul Eid/ Festival prayers too consist of 2 cycles.

In Shia Islam just before sunrise when sun light spreads Fajr is performed. When sun starts to decline from topmost horizon Zuhr is performed followed by Asr, when sunset is complete Maghrib is performed followed by Isha. One can perform Zuhr & Asr right up to beginning of sunset, also Maghrib and Isha right up to midnight although in sequence. Taahajjud/ Salatul Layl/ Extra Night prayers are are performed after midnight. If one misses obligatory Salaah one can make them up later on as Qaza/ postponed.

In Shia Islam a person who is on journey must Qasr/ shortens one’s prayer that is all four rakaah / cycle prayers should be offered as two cycle’s prayers. Obligatory prayers are better to be performed in Jam’aat/ congregation although Furaada/ individually performed prayers would still remain valid. One who cannot stand should perform his salaah in seated position and so on and on. Several mistakes in Salaah require one to perform two extra sajda/ prostration at end of salaah. Several doubts in salaah require one to repeat the salaah while other doubts are to be ignored.

In Shia Islam Sajda/ prostrations is performed only upon permissible stuffs like natural mud, clay, sand, bed rock, ground, grass, marble, granite etc anything which is natural and is not used in food or clothing, thus prostration cannot be performed on cloths, edible leaves, also it cannot be performed on metals. Shia Muslims usually prefer Turba/ mud from holy places like Mecca, Madina, Karbala, Najaf, Jerusalem etc. Commonly used mud is from Karbala formed as discs or tiles and placed at location of prostration. It is preferred but not a necessity, Shia Islam considers Karbala mud as very holy due to the fact that 3rd Imam Husain along with others was martyred there.

Another issue with salaah is if someone crosses in front of person performing salaah, in Shia Islam such crossing has no effect on salaah of the person, neither it becomes void nor any other issue arises, the person performing Salaah according to Shia Islam has nothing to worry, unlike other Non-Shia where their salaah becomes void.

Shia Islam considers it Haraam/ forbidden to perform certain Bid'ah/innovated prayers like Taraveeh and Chaast/Duha which are mandatorily offered by Non-Shia Muslims.

Here is 'How to perform Salah/ Namaz/ Prayers as per Shia Islam'

Oh Allah! Peace and Salutation be upon Mohammed and House-hold of Mohammed.