Question: What are the obligatory elements (fara’id) of salat?
There are 12 obligatory elements of salat. Six of them are done during salat, and six of them are done before salat. The obligatory elements that are done before salat are called shuroot (prerequisites, conditions), and the ones that are done during salat are called arkaan (pillars). [According to some scholars, takbir al-iftitah (the opening takbir) is one of the shuroot of salat. According to these scholars, the number of shuroot of salat is 7, while that of arkaan of it is 5.]
A. The Shuroot of Salat:
1. Purification from hadath (something requiring wudu’ or ghusl):
If one is not in a state of wudu’, one has to perform wudu’ before performing salat. If one is junub (impure due to sexual intercourse or semen discharge) or if the menstrual or postnatal bleeding of a woman has stopped, such a person has to take ghusl before salat.
2. Purification from najasat (substances that Islam prescribes as dirty):
A person who is going to offer salat has to clean najasat from his body, clothes, and the place where he is going to offer salat.
3. Covering awrah:
Those parts of a person’s body that are haram for him (or her) to leave uncovered during salat and/or whenever in company, and which are equally haram for others to look at, are called awrah parts. The awrah of a man refers to the part of the body from his navel up to lower parts of his knees. As for a woman, her entire body, except her face and hands, is awrah.
4. Facing the qiblah:
One must face the qiblah (the direction toward the Kaaba) when performing salat.
One must perform salat within its prescribed time.
6. Niyyah (intention):
One has to make intention in one’s heart before entering salat. Only verbal utterance of the niyyah of salat is not considered niyyah. To make niyyah for salat means to pass through the heart its name, time, qiblah, and to follow the imam (when performing salat in congregation). Niyyah is made when saying the opening takbir.
B. The Arkaan of Salat:
1. Takbir al-iftitah (the opening takbir):
It means saying Allahu akbar to enter salat. No other word to replace it is acceptable.
2. Qiyam (standing):
Qiyam means to stand when one is performing salat. He who is too ill to stand performs salat in sitting position. If he is too ill to sit, he lies down on his back and performs it through gestures in place of physical movements.
It means reciting a chapter (surah) or verse (ayah) from the Qur’an al-karim in salat.
It means bowing and putting the hands on the knees on completion of qiraat.
It means prostrating oneself after ruku.
6. Qada al-akhira [last sitting]:
It means sitting in the last rak’at (each unit of salat is called a rak’at) as long as it would take one to recite the prayer at-tahiyyat.
Question: During salat, is it permissible to perform qiraat in one’s heart without moving one’s lips?
No, it is not permissible according to the Hanafi Madhhab. Qiraat (recitation) is one of the fara’id (obligatory elements) of salat. It means that the reciter must be able to hear himself when reciting during salat. If the reciter cannot hear what he recites, his recitation is not considered qiraat, which makes salat invalid. Many people today do not know this ruling, so they perform salats without moving their tongues and without hearing what they recite, with the result that their salats are not valid.
Question: Is qiraat, one of the obligatory components of salat, fulfilled by reciting Surat al-Fatiha and an additional surah (a chapter from the Qur’an al-karim)?
No, it is not. Qiraat means reciting the Qur’an. When Surat al-Fatiha or a surah from the Qur’an is recited, it is considered that qiraat has been fulfilled. Reciting Surat al-Fatiha and an additional surah is wajib according to the Hanafi Madhhab. According to the other three madhhabs, reciting Surat al-Fatiha is fard (obligatory), and reciting an additional surah is sunnat.
Question: If one cannot recite verses from the Qur’an al-karim and the other prayers during salat because one is sick or has put medicine in one’s mouth, what should one do?
If one cannot recite prayers and Qur’anic verses during salat for such reasons, one performs it without reciting anything. (Halabi al-kabir)
Question: When should one pronounce takbir al-iftitah (the opening takbir)? Should it be pronounced before or after a person raises his hands up to his ears?
The hands should be raised before one says the opening takbir. This is what is the most correct one. The same is written in Hidaya, too. (Fatawa al-Hindiyya)
The opening takbir is pronounced after the hands are raised up to the ears. (Durr-ul-mukhtar)
The statement “The hands should be lifted before one utters the opening takbir” belongs to Imam-i A’zam and Imam-i Muhammad. What is written in the book Hidaya is written in Bahr and Nahr, too. This is the preferred statement. (Radd-ul-mukhtar)
The above-mentioned statements can be clarified as follows:
The opening takbir is pronounced after the hands are raised up to the ears. That is, saying Allahu akbar is started as hands leave ears and finished as they are folded under the navel. (Endless Bliss)
Question: How long does one need to remain in the position of ruku and sajda in order to fulfill the minimum requirement?
When performing ruku, it is fard to bow by bending at the waist. When performing sajda, it is fard to place the forehead on the ground. It is wajib to stay in these positions as long as it takes one to say Subhan-Allah once or three times.
Question: Is performing wudu’ or ghusl a fard act in itself?
Both are of the conditions of salat. One of the conditions of salat is purification from hadath, which requires that a junub take ghusl and a person without wudu’ perform wudu’.
No matter whether one performs salat regularly or not, it is a major sin to remain junub from the beginning of a salat time to the end of it. When one becomes junub, it is better to take ghusl immediately. However, it is permissible to delay it in such a case: Suppose that one has become junub after the adhan for Salat az-Zuhr is called out. If one has not offered it yet, it is permissible for one to delay taking ghusl to such an extent that the remaining time before Salat al-Asr is sufficient for only the performance of ghusl and Salat az-Zuhr. It is haram to delay it beyond this time and fard to take ghusl at that time.
Question: Is qiyam (standing) fard (obligatory) during voluntary salats, too?
Qiyam is fard when one performs fard and wajib salats, as well as when one makes them up. It is not fard for voluntary salats. For this reason, it is permissible at any time and in any place to perform voluntary salats, including the ones performed before and after the five daily salats, in sitting position even though one has the strength to perform them standing. (Nimat-i Islam)
It is permissible to offer voluntary salats in sitting position, even if there is no legitimate excuse to do so. Only the sunnah salat performed before Salat al-Fajr must be performed standing. He who performs a voluntary salat sitting will earn half the rewards of the one who performs it standing. (Maraqi al-falah)
If one has missed salats and is performing sunnah salats with the intention of both making up these missed salats and offering sunnah salats, one cannot offer them in sitting position because qiyam is obligatory for fard salats.
Question: Is it fard for a person performing salat to recite loud enough to hear himself?
According to the madhhabs of Hanafi, Hanbali, and Shafi’i, it is fard for a person performing salat to recite loud enough to hear himself. According to the Maliki Madhhab, it is not fard, but mustahab (recommended), for him to hear what he is reciting, provided that he says the sounds of letters by moving his tongue. (Al-Fiqh 'Ala Al-Madhahib al-Arba'ah, Ýslam Ahlaký)
Question: If one, while offering the fard of Salat al-Fajr, immediately says the salam without reciting the prayers Allahumma salli … and Allahumma barik … for fear that the sun will rise, is one’s salat valid?
Yes, it is valid. To finish salat of one’s own accord is fard according to Imam-i A’zam, but it is not fard according to Imam-i Abu Yusuf and Imam-i Muhammad. If one, after sitting as long as it would take to recite at-tahiyyat at the end of salat, deliberately does something that nullifies one’s salat, e.g., laughing, talking, eating or drinking something, one’s salat is complete by unanimity. However, if one’s wudu’ breaks beyond one’s physical control [after one has sat as long as to recite at-tahiyyat], one’s salat is complete according to Imam-i Abu Yusuf and Imam-i Muhammad. According to Imam-i A’zam, one must renew wudu’ immediately and finish the salat of one’s own accord. Otherwise, one’s salat becomes void.
If, after one has sat in the last sitting as long as to say at-tahiyyat, the time for that salat expires before one says the salam, e.g., the sun has risen or the time for the next salat has arrived, one’s salat is complete according to Imam-i Abu Yusuf and Imam-i Muhammad. According to Imam-i A’zam, it has been nullified because one has not finished it of one’s own accord. There are differences among scholars with regard to which one of these two statements one should follow. (Halabi)
If one follows what Imam-i Abu Yusuf and Imam-i Muhammad said in case of necessity, one’s salat will be valid.
Question: It is said, “Maintaining tartib [order] during salat is fard. If one misses a rukn [sing. of arkaan; any of the obligatory acts of salat done during salat] in salat and makes it up in the same salat, the salat is rendered valid if sajda-i sahw [prostration of forgetfulness] is made.” The following is written in the book Se’adet-i Ebediyye: “If one, while performing a fard salat, stands up in the last rak’at instead of sitting, one’s fard salat has turned into a voluntary one, if one remembers it after making prostration.” One has performed the last sitting, which is obligatory, even though one delayed it. Then why has one’s salat turned into a voluntary one? Isn’t that obligatory act considered to have been fulfilled if one makes sajda-i sahw?
That salat does not become correct by making sajda-i sahw because the last sitting, which is fard, has been left out. When a fard act of salat is left out, this salat does not become correct by making sajda-i sahw. Therefore, it becomes a voluntary salat.
Question: It is written in the book Se’adet-i Ebediyye, “It is fard to sit at the last sitting as long as to recite at-tahiyyat.” Some people may recite it quickly while others may recite it slowly. Is there not a standard for this?
The amount of time one spends reciting it is the standard. The total of the minutes that it takes for a person to recite it is the standard, or the total of the minutes that it takes for him to recite it under normal conditions and the average of quick and slow recitation is taken as the standard.
Question: If one forgets to recite Surat al-Fatiha and an additional surah, bows down for ruku, and remembers forgetting it while bending for sajda, is one’s salat complete by making sajda-i sahw?
Qiraat is fard, so this salat cannot be rectified by making sajda-i sahw. If one had forgotten to recite either Surat al-Fatiha or an additional surah, one would have rectified it by making sajda-i sahw. When both are left out, one has left out a fard act of salat. One should return to qiyam position immediately while bending for sajda and recite Surat al-Fatiha and an additional surah. One must repeat ruku because one’s previous ruku is considered invalid as maintaining order in salat is fard. One should make sajda-i sahw at the end of the salat, too. (Hindiyya)