13 Oct Learning How to Pray Part 7
Acts which Invalidate the Prayer:
The prayer becomes invalid in the following cases:
1) If any of its pillars (arkaan) or obligatory acts (waajibaat) are intentionally or forgetfully omitted despite one’s ability.
2) If any of its obligatory acts (waajibaat) are intentionally left out.
3) Deliberately speaking whilst in prayer.
4)Laughing out loud whilst in prayer.
5) Unnecessary, continuous movements.
Acts which Are Disliked During the Prayer:
These are the acts which are bound to decrease the reward for one’s prayer and negatively affect humility, concentration and attentiveness in it. They are as follows:
1) Turning the head around during prayer, for when the Prophet r was asked about this act, he said, “It is a way of stealing by which Satan takes away a portion from a person’s prayer.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 718)
2) Fiddling with one’s hands or face, placing one’s hands on the hips, clasping one’s hands together and cracking one’s fingers.
3) Engaging in prayer when one is distracted by something, such as one’s need to answer the call of nature, for the Prophet r said, “No prayer can be correctly offered when the food is served before the worshipper, or when one is prompted by the call of nature.” (Saheeh Muslim: 560)
The Recommended Voluntary Prayers:
Muslims are required to offer only five prayers a day.
However, Islam encourages them to offer other recommended prayers, for doing so makes them worthy of Allah’s love and serve to make up for any deficiencies in the performance of the obligatory prayers.
The following are some of the most important supererogatory prayers:
A) The Supererogatory Prayers
Accompanying the Obligatory Prayers (As-Sunan Ar-Rawaatib): These are the prayers that are offered before or after the obligatory prayers and Muslims generally do not neglect them. Regarding the reward for performing these prayers, the Prophet r said, “Allah will build a house in Paradise for any Muslim who prays twelve units of voluntary prayer during the night and day.” (Saheeh Muslim: 728) They are as follows
1 Two units before the Fajr prayer
2 Four units before the Dhuhr prayer, reciting the tasleem after each two units; and two other units after the Dhuhr prayer
3 Two units after the Maghrib prayer
4 Two units after the ‛Ishaa’ prayer
B) The Witr Prayer: the Arabic word witr means “odd number” and refers to odd-numbered prayer offered after the ‛Ishaa’ prayer. It is considered to be one of the best and most meritorious of all supererogatory prayers. The Prophet r once commanded the Muslims, “Followers of the Qur’an! Perform the witr prayer.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhee: 453, Sunan Ibn Maajah: 1170)
The best time to offer the witr prayer is in the later part of the night before the Fajr prayer, but a Muslim may perform it at any time between the Ishaa’ and the Fajr prayers. The minimum number of units for the witr prayer is one, but it is better to offer three. A Muslim may offer more if he wishes, but the maximum number of units which the Prophet r used to perform was eleven. The units of the supererogatory prayers are generally offered two by two, followed by the tasleem. The witr prayer is no exception. However, if a Muslim wants to conclude his prayer, he must add one single unit, during which he may recite a special supplication, known as qunoot supplication. This supplication is recited after rising from the bowing position and before prostrating. After this supplication, he may pray to Allah and ask Him for whatever he wishes, holding his hands in front of him with both palms up.