10 Nov The Conditions that Must be Performed Before Prayer
1. Purification From Hadath (Ritual Impurities)
Before the prayer(salah), a person must be purified of ritual impurities known ashadath, which prevents the person from performing worship. This is done by performing ablution before the prayer or by performing ghusl(bathing) when in a state of major impurity, such as seminal emission after marital relations and wet dreams.
2. Purification From the Najasah (Material Impurities)
Najasah is the word given to material impurities. Before praying, a person’s clothing, body, and the area for prayer must be purified from any substance that is classified as impure.
Material impurities are as follows;
- Najasat-i Ghalizah (Heavy Impurity)
Such as fecal excrement, urine, blood, semen, and discharge of humans and animals whose meat is prohibited, and the excretion of poultry namely chickens, goose, and ducks whose meat is permitted to eat in Islam. We must ensure that neither our bodies nor our clothing come into contact with these impurities.
Among these impurities: an amount of solid impurity weighing 2.80 grams (0.10 ounce) or less. For liquid impurity no larger than the palm of the human hand does not invalidate the prayer. If any amount exceeding that stated comes in contact with the body or clothing, the impurity must be removed and cleaned before praying.
- Najasat al-khafifah (Light impurity)
Excretion and urine of animals prescribed halal, namely horses, goats, cattle, buffalo, and camels, and the excretion of birds whose meat is forbidden to eat in Islam. The prayer is valid if the amount of the light impurity on body or cloth is less then one forth or less but invalid if the amount exceeds that stated.
Although our religion permits us to pray if we have come in contact with a specific amount of the defined impurities, this is to relieve any difficulty of performing our duties of worship and is only in the case of necessity. In accordance with our faith, it is more desirable to go before the Creator in a state of complete purity.
3. Satr Al-Awrah (Covering The Parts Of The Body Not Permitted To Be Seen By Others)
These are the areas of the bodies of both men and women prohibited to be seen by other people. During the prayer, a man must cover at the least from his navel to below the kneecaps, whereas a woman must cover her entire body, with the exception of her hands and face.
In addition to this, we must also consider the fact that during the prayer, we stand before our Creator; therefore, it is necessary to dress accordingly when we pray. A person should avoid wearing tight clothing while praying, and is not permitted to pray while wearing thin clothing through which the color of the skin is apparent.
4. Istiqbal Al-Qiblah (Turning Towards Ka’bah)
The direction to be faced during the prayers (qiblah) is the Ka’bah, which is in the city of Mecca. Istiqbal al-qiblah means literally turning towards the Ka’bah to perform the prayer. The qiblah does not only consist of the structure of the Ka’bah. According to the Islamic faith, the qiblah is a pillar of the light (Nur) rising above the Ka’bah to the very center of the Earth. So weather we are on a plane or beneath the grounds surface, we can turn towards this pillar of light that is in alignment with the Ka’bah and prayer.
If we don’t know the direction of the qiblah, the best thing to do is ask somebody else if possible. If there is no possible means of learning direction using our own initiative, the direction that our hearts believe to be corrected. In which case, if we do pray in the wrong direction by mistake, our prayers still be valid. If we realize that we prayed in the wrong direction by mistake, or learn the course of the qiblah after praying, we are not obligated to re-pray. However if we pray without inquiring or trying to determine the right direction by our own instinct, then we must perform the prayer again.
5. Al- Waqt (The Prescribed Time)
Every Prayer has a prescribed time during which the prayer must be prayed. Performing the five daily prayers on time is an obligation upon every Muslim. This is called al-waqt, “the prescribed time.”
It is not permissible to pray before the prescribed time begins, and a prayer performed after the prescribed time ends is not classified as fulfilling our duty of performing the prescribed prayer. This is compensating for the prayer we missed.
6. Niyyah (Intention For The Prayer)
The niyyah, or intention for the prayer, is the desire of praying for the sake of Allah(God) and acknowledging which prayer is to be performed. For instance, affirming
“O Lord! I intend to pray the fard of the noon prayer for your pleasure”
in the heart is sufficient for fulfilling the condition of the intention for prayer. There is no requirement of specifying the number of rak’ahs (units) of the prayer. When praying in congregation the imam and those following him must have the intention of doing so.
The intention for praying a congregational prayer should be:
“I comply with the imam”
asserting that the individual intends to conform to the imam during the prayer. And the imam’s intention should be words to the effect of:
“I intend to lead the prayer of those who comply with me.