Performing Salah as the Prophet Performed

QDo women pray exactly the same as men or in the modest way. Do you have direct information detailing exactly how women and men are to pray Salaah correctly? (Fatmah asked by email on Mon 27/02/2012)

ABismillaahi walĥamdulillaahi waŝŝalaatu wassalaamu ‘alaa rasoolillaahi. 
Dear Fatmah,

There are many young men and women who are arguing about and spreading emails and literature about the “correct way” of performing Salaah and all their emphasis is on form: how to stand, sit, tie your hands, put your feet, etc. The following a brief comment in that regard.

All the components of the Salaah are mentioned in the Qur-aan. The Prophet taught us how to perform them in proper order and with proper spirit to fully attain the objectives for which Allaah SWT made Salaah obligatory for us. According to the way the Prophet performed Salaah, the following are the essentials of Salaah:

  1. Starting Salaah with Takbeer, raising hands, and glorification and praise of Allaah;
  2. Standing respectfully in awe of Allaah SWT thinking you are standing in His court and He is looking at you; and very attentively reciting Al-Faatihah and renewing your commitment of exclusive slavery to Allaah SWT and imploring Him for His guidance and help; then (except for the third and fourth Raka’t of Fardh) reciting as much Qur-aan as possible from what you have memorized (not keeping on repeating small Soorahs); and during the recitation, focussing on the message that Allaah SWT is giving to us through the Qur-aan and how it should impact your life;
  3. Bowing into the rukoo’ while glorifying the greatness of Allaah SWT, as a sign of your sincere obedience to all that you have just recited or heard from Imaam of the Salaah;
  4. Standing up with the consciousness that Allaah SWT has heard your praise;
  5. Prostrating while glorifying Allaah’s exaltedness in utmost humility and with the feelings of total submission to Him without any conditions, reservations or reluctance, in everything you do in your life;
  6. Sitting to seek his forgiveness in matters where you have not performed as well in His obedience as you should have.
  7. Repeating prostration once again passionately glorifying Allaah’s exaltedness in utmost humility and reinforce your commitment of total submission to Him without any conditions, reservations or reluctance, in everything you do in your life;
  8. Repeating steps 2 to 7 as many times as Rak‘aat in the Salaah; and
  9. Sit down for concluding salutation to Allaah, and the Prophet and Du’aa, then exit the Salaah formally.

For details such as where to put the hands, how to sit, how to prostrate, etc., just follow whatever your parents have taught you or whatever Fiqh they follow. All Fiqh schools are valid.

If your intention for offering the Salaah is right for the exclusive pleasure of Allaah SWT and you perform your Salaah as described above, your Salaah is guaranteed to be accepted by Allaah SWT and will be right according to the Sunnah of the Prophet. Do not waste any time or energy arguing or worrying about any other details people tell you. They are wasting their time and energies as well as yours for something that is not important at all.

On the other hand, if you pay attention to the nitty gritty details, while you do not focus on the spirit of the Salaah indicated in the steps listed above, then Allaah SWT is going to throw your Salaah on your face, regardless of how precise you were in putting your hands and moving your fingers, etc.

It is about time for our Ummah to get out of putting emphasis on useless details.

February 27, 2012

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