Friday, 10 April 2015

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.



  1. Log Bemari ki Waja se khana too chor dety hain,


    AZAAB k dar se Gunah nahin chortay!
    Hazrat Ali (R.A)
    Abdur Raoof Raoofi Naats

  2. Khuda ko bhol gaye log fikr rozy mein khayal rizq mein raziq ka kuch khayal nahi

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  4. Assalamu'alaikum wr wb. I want to ask some questions:
    1. May I shalatullayl with 2 rakats nafila, 2 rakats shab, 1 rakat witr?

    2. May I reduce a recommended shalat on certain days? For example on Monday we are recommended prayer 10 rakats, for me it is heavy, may I reduce it? Being 2 rakats for maybe..Thankyou, salam

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