13 Oct Learning How to Pray Part 4
For Whom Is It Obligatory?
It is obligatory for every adult, sane and responsible Muslim, male or female to offer the prayer. However, menstruating women or women in their post-natal bleeding are exempt from offering the prayers and are not required to make up for the prayers they have missed after their bleeding ceases and they have purified themselves
Maturity or puberty can be determined by the following indicators:
-Appearance of pubic hair
-Seminal discharge while sleeping or when awake
-Menstruation and conception (for women)
What Are the Conditions that Must Be Met before Engaging in Prayer?
1) Removing physical impurity and ritual impurity
2) Covering the intimate parts of the body (‛awrah)
The ‛awrah must be covered with clothing that is neither skin-tight, nor skimpy, nor see-through.
The ‛awrah during the prayer is of three types:
For an adult woman: All her body is considered ‛awrah except for the face and hands.
For a small child: His ‛awrah includes his private parts and the buttocks.
For a man: His ‛awrah is from the navel to the knees.
As Allah I says in the Qur’an, “Children of Adam! Wear fine clothing for every prayer.” (Soorat Al-A‛raaf, 7:31) In fact, covering the intimate parts of the body is the minimum amount of clothing.
4) Facing the qiblah
Allah I says, “Wherever you come from, turn your face to the Holy Mosque [in Makkah].” (Soorat Al-Baqarah, 2:149)
The direction Muslims face in prayer (qiblah) is the Ka‛bah, a cube-shaped building located inside the Holy Mosque in Makkah, which was originally constructed by Abraham u and to which the prophets had made a pilgrimage. It is true that it is a stone structure which can do neither harm nor good, but Allah I commands the Muslims to face it during the prayer to serve as a focal and unifying point among them.
A Muslim is required to face the Ka‛bah if he can see it in front of him. However, if he is far away from it and cannot see it, being in a different country, for instance, he can only face Makkah. The prayer is still considered valid with slight deviation from the direction of the qiblah, for the Prophet r said, “Whatever is between the east and the west is the qiblah.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhee: 342)
If he cannot possibly face it due to illness, for instance, then he does not have to do so, for all obligatory acts are normally dropped in case of inability, as the Qur’an states, “Therefore, do your duty towards Allah to the best of your ability.” (Soorat At-Taghaabun, 64:16)
4) When its Appointed time Becomes Due
The prayer will not be valid if it is offered before its time has started, and delaying it beyond its designated time is strictly forbidden, as the Qur’an states, “The prayers are enjoined on the believers at stated times.” (Soorat An-Nisaa’,4:103)
The following facts must be stressed regarding this point:
It is better to offer the prayer as soon as its actual time becomes due.
It must be offered at its stated times.
If a prayer is missed due to sleep or forgetfulness, it must be made up for as soon as it is remembered.