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Some Mistakes Committed by People During the Prayer (Salâh)

Place : Saudi Arabia / Riyadh / None / None /
Business Category : Prayer
date of publication : 1439/05/22
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Elements speech
1- Exposition of the significance of prayer and its status in Islam. 2- Statement of a number of mistakes committed by people during the Prayer (Salâh).

First Sermon:

All praise is due and belongs to Allâh. We praise Him, seek His help and forgiveness and repent to Him. We seek refuge with Allâh from the evils of ourselves and from the wickedness of our own deeds. Whomever that Allâh guides, none can mislead him, and whomever He sends astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh alone with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

( يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ )

(O you who believe, fear Allâh as he should be feared and die not unless you are Muslims) [Al-Imran: 102]

(يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا)

(O people fear your Lord, who created you from a single soul. From it, He created its spouse, and from both of them scattered many men and women. Fear Allâh, by whom you ask one another, and (fear) the wombs (lest you sever its relationship). Allâh is ever watching over you). [An-Nisa: 1].

(يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا * يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا)

(O you, who believe, fear Allâh and say sound statements. He will mend your deeds for you and forgive your sins. Whosoever obeys Allâh and His Messenger shall win a great victory) [Al-Ahzab: 70-71].

O believers! Prayer is of great significance and pronounced importance in the religion of Islam. It is the link between a person and his Lord, through which he draws closer to his Creator, and displays his poverty and need of Him. It is through it that his servitude is proven. It is the distinction between Muslims and others, and it serves as a means to distinguish one who observes it from those that do not observe it. The Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), said, “Between a man and shirk and disbelief is the abandonment of the prayer”. (Muslim). This is because prayer is the practical confession and proof of the tawhid of a person, which he professed when taking the Shahadatain (two words of testimony).

It is the second pillar of Islam after the Shahadatain (two words of testimony). In the hadith of the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him),   it has been stated that: “Islam is built upon five pillars: to testify that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh , and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, to establish regular prayer (Salah), pay the obligatory alms (Zakah), make pilgrimage to the House (of Allâh  in Makkah- Ka’bah), and fast the month of Ramadan” (Agreed upon).

It is also the mainstay of religion, upon which it stands, as the Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him),  said, ” Shall I not inform you about the head of the entire matter, and its pillar, and its highest point?’ I said: ‘Of course O Messenger of Allâh ! He said: ‘The head of the matter is Islam, and its pillar is the Salâh, and its highest point is Jihad (striving in the cause of Allâh ) “(At-Tirmidhi).

It is the first thing for which a person will be brought to account on the Doomsday. Abu Hurairah, may Allâh  be pleased with him, narrated saying, I heard the Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him),  say, ” The first thing for which a person will be brought to account on the Doomsday is his prayer. If it is found sound and perfect, he will be safe and successful; but if it is incomplete, he will be unfortunate and a loser” (An-Nasaei).

To emphasize the importance of prayer, Allâh  commanded that it should be observed in more than a verse in the Noble Qur’an. Among these verses is His words, the most High:

﴿وَأَنۡ أَقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَٱتَّقُوهُ‌ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ إِلَيۡهِ تُحۡشَرُونَ

And to establish regular prayer (Salâh), and to be obedient to Allâh and fear Him, and it is He to Whom you shall be gathered [Al-An’am: 72].

He the most Purified, again said,

﴿وَأَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ طَرَفَىِ ٱلنَّہَارِ وَزُلَفً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلَّيۡلِ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱلۡحَسَنَـٰتِ يُذۡهِبۡنَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ ذِكۡرَىٰ لِلذَّٲكِرِينَ

And establish regular prayer (Salâh), at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night [i.e. the five compulsory Salâh (prayers)]. Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds (i.e. small sins). That is a reminder (an advice) for the mindful [Hud: 114].

Our Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), has reminded us of it in many occasions of reminding and education, including what he said on the last day of his life, but in the final words in his will, which he left behind while leaving this world, when he, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him),   said, “Be mindful of your prayer, be mindful of your prayer, and what your right hands possess “(Abu Dawud).

O believers! In order to keep that great act of worship, guard against losing it, and observe it properly, we must recall, and remind of the mistakes made by many people in order to avoid them. It was narrated in the hadith on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allâh  be pleased with him, that Allâh ‘s Messenger (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), entered the mosque and a person followed him. The man prayed and went to the Prophet and greeted him. The Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), returned the greeting and said to him, “Go back and pray, for you have not prayed.” The man went back prayed in the same way as before, returned and greeted the Prophet who said, “Go back and pray, for you have not prayed.” This happened thrice. The man said, “By Him Who sent you with the Truth, I cannot offer the prayer in a better way than this. Please, teach me how to pray.” Thereupon, the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), taught him how to pray.

This hadith indicates that there are some people who commit mistakes during prayer and may not pay attention to that, so he who is capable need to remind  so that he does not continue in the error, and thus losing the reward for his deed. This is because the right thing is to perform this act of worship as it was performed by the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), as he (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), said, “pray as you have seen me praying.” (Al-Bukhari).

Some of the common mistakes are: Some worshipers say the intention loudly at the beginning of the prayer, which is something that was not done by the Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), nor did he order that it should be done. It suffices a Muslim to consider the saying of the Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), in this regard, ” (The value of) an action depends on the intention behind it. A man will be rewarded only for what he intended “(Al-Bukhari).

Some of the errors is that some worshipers rest on a wall or column next to him or behind him, while he can stand, and he has no legitimate  excuse for leaning on the wall. In fact, this type of act is not permissible in the obligatory prayer, because what is compulsory on the able person is to stand aright without leaning on something.

With respect to the supererogatory prayers (Nawafil), there is nothing wrong in that, because they may be performed sitting down. Hence, performing them standing becomes permissible on a fortiori.

The common mistakes also include errors involved when saying Aameen after the Imam when he says “Aameen” after reciting Surah Al-Fatihah. These include what some worshipers do by saying Aameen, and for my parents and Muslims, which is an addition to the prescribed words and is not valid.

They also include what some worshipers do in contesting with the imam in saying Aameen. When the imam is yet to conclude the saying of “Wa Ladw-Dwaalleen”  some worshippers hasten to say Aameen, before others. This is a clear mistake, and they even cause disturbances for others. What is more serious than this is that he causes himself to lose a great reward because of his haste, and lack of knowledge about the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him). Abu Hurairah, May Allâh , the Almighty, be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him),  said, ” When the Imam says Aameen, say Aameen, for if a person’s Aameen coincides with the Amin of the angels, his previous sins will be forgiven “.

The angels do not say Aameen unless after the Imam has concluded saying “Wa Ladw-Dwaalleen “. Please, and May Allâh  have mercy on you, ponder the great reward this person that hastens causes himself to lose because  of haste and lack of knowledge of the Sunnah of the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him). Allâh  spoke the truth where he said,

(وَكَانَ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنُ عَجُولاً۬)

 And man is ever hasty [Al-Isra: 11]

Among the mistakes that people often make is the habit of not stretching the back during standing (Qiyam), bowing (Ruku’), sitting (Julus) and prostration (Sujud). So, it is observed on some worshipers that their standing during the prayer is incomplete. Sometimes they stand as if they are hunchback, and sometimes they are lopsided to the right, or the left and this has been forbidden. A direct and explicit text was reported regarding on the stretching of the backbone during standing and sitting positions. It has been reported from the Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him),   that he said, ” Almighty Allâh  would not look at  the prayer of one who does not settle his spine between the bowing and prostrating positions”.

He, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), ordered the man who could not perform his prayers soundly, saying, ” And then raise your head and stand straight until every bone returns to its place “.

In some narration, he said, “When you raise your head stretch your spine until the bones return to their joints – and then he said: No one among Mankind would have his prayer perfect if he fails to do that”.

So, failure to stretch the back during bowing and prostrating positions is a deficiency in the prayer, as the messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), said, ” The worst of those who steal, is one who steals from his prayer”, they said, O Messenger of Allâh ! And how does he steal from his prayer ?! He said: “He does not perfect the ruku’ (bowing) and sujud (prostration).”

Among the mistakes that some worshipers commit is hyperactivity or excessive movements when praying, and preoccupation with the body or clothing, or what the worshipper carries inside his clothing such as telephones, keys, and other portable things with him, because they often distract him from his prayers, and playing with them distracts from the full essence of the prayer, with respect to humility, fear, tranquility, and serenity, and Allâh , the Most High, has said, praising his faithful slaves:

(قَدۡ أَفۡلَحَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ (2) ٱلَّذِينَ هُمۡ فِى صَلَاتِہِمۡ خَـٰشِعُونَ)

 Successful indeed are the believers, Those who offer their Salâh (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness. [Al-Mu’minoon: 1-2].

O Allâh , help us to remember You, thank You, worship You in the best manner, and facilitate for us our affair in the right way.

I said what you have heard, and I ask forgiveness from Almighty Allâh , the Great for me and you and other Muslims, for every sin. Hence, seek His forgiveness, for He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.

Second sermon:

All praise is due and belongs to Allâh the Lord of the worlds. The good end shall be for the righteous and god-fearing and there shall be no aggression except upon the oppressors. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh  alone with no partner, the Patron of the righteous, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger, the Imam of the pious. May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him, his family and companions, and those who followed them until the Day of Judgement.

Slaves of Allâh ! Among the mistakes that some worshipers also commit is the act of waiting for the Imam when he is in prostration until he gets up or when he is sitting until he stands up, without immediately engaging with him in the prayer except if he is standing, or bowing. So, if he enters the mosque and finds the Imam in prostration, for example, he would come to the row and stand waiting for the imam to raise his head and if the Imam stands erect, he joins him in the prayer. Such is a wrong conduct, Dear brothers and it is contrary to the Sunnah. Rather, the correct practice is to enter with the imam in any position he might be, standing or bowing or prostrating or sitting. Abu Qatada, may Allâh  be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), said, ” whenever you come for the prayer, you should come with calmness, and pray whatever you get (with the people) and complete the rest which you have missed ” (Al-Bukhari).

Ibn Hajar said, “It serves as evidence that it is desirable to join the imam in prayer in any position he is found “.

Moreover, it was narrated in the Hadith on the authority of Mu’adh, may Allâh  be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), said, ” When anyone of you comes to the Salah and (finds) the Imam in a position, then he should do as the Imam is doing ” (At-Tirmidhi).

Among the common mistakes too, which are not observed by some worshipers, is the lack of enabling the seven bodily limbs to be well firm on the ground when prostrating. This is contrary to what the Messenger of Allâh , (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), taught us. Al-Bukhari narrated in his Sahih, on the authority of Abdullah bin Abbas, may Allâh  be pleased with them, that ” The Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him), was ordered (by Allâh ) to prostrate on seven parts and not to tuck up the clothes or hair (while praying). Those parts are: the forehead (along with the tip of nose), both hands, both knees, and (toes of) both feet “.

However, the mistakes that people make in this aspect are of different types: Some people slightly lift their feet off the ground when in prostration, or place one of them on the other, and this is wrong, because in this case it is not true that he has prostrated on seven parts. Yet, there are some people who place their nose on the edge of the carpet and raise their forehead, not allowing it to touch the ground. Some reverse this situation by placing the forehead on the floor and raising the nose, and all this is wrong.

Also, some of the errors is that which has been forbidden in the hadith of Abu Hurairah, may Allâh  be pleased with him, in Musnad Imam Ahmad, that he said, “My close friend, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh  be upon him),   has forbidden to me three acts: to peck as the rooster pecks, to squat like a dog, to look here and there like a fox (during the prayer) “.

Anyone who does one of these three acts has made a mistake.  Pecking like the rooster means to perform prayer in haste and without tranquility, pecking the prostration just like the cock does.  Squatting like the dog is to stick the buttocks to the ground, raise the legs up and fix the hands on the ground. This kind of movement is forbidden during prayer, and is one of the outrageous errors.

O Allâh ! Grant us beneficial knowledge, sincere conviction and perfect faith, and return us nicely to Your religion.

Invoke prayers and blessings of Allâh upon the one Allâh, the Most Exalted and Glorified, has commanded you to do so when He said,

(إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا)

Allâh sends His Salâh (Graces, Honours, Blessings, Mercy, etc.) on the Prophet (Muhammad) and also His angels too (ask Allâh to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salâh on (ask Allâh to bless) him (Muhammad), and (you should) greet him with the Islamic way of greeting [Al-Ahzab: 56].