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Journey through Salaah


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1: Wudu: Inner and Outer Purification

 

Performing ṣalāh is one of the most rewarding actions. However, its fruits are not just within ṣalāh itself, but also extend to the preparations carried out beforehand. The principal preparation is wuḍū’.

Wūḍū’ is a compulsory requirement for ṣalāh. Without it, your ṣalāh is invalid.

Wuḍū, however, is not just a physical action. It is deeply spiritual. Like the majority of deeds, wuḍū’ has both an inner and an outer dimension. Whilst its outer dimension is to purify the body’s various parts from physical dirt, its inner dimension is to purify yourself from the ‘dirt’ of your sins. This is why Allah (ʿazza wa jall) says, “Indeed Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves” (2:222).

To transform your wuḍū’ from a mere physical act of cleansing to the great act of devotion that it is, try to keep in mind at least one of the four pointers below during your wuḍū:

1. Visualise your sins being forgiven

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Whoever performs wuḍū’, and does so in an excellent manner, his sins will leave from his body, even coming out from under his nails” (Muslim). In another ḥadīth, the Prophet ﷺ explained in detail how sins leave each part of the body that is washed in wuḍū’ (Muslim).

Once, ʿUthmān b. ʿAffān (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) performed wuḍū’ and then smiled. He then asked, “Do you know what made me smile?” He went on to say, “The Prophet ﷺ performed wuḍū’ like I just did, and then smiled. He then asked, ‘Do you know what made me smile?’… We replied, ‘Allah and His Messenger ﷺ know best.’ He ﷺ said, ‘Indeed when the servant performs wuḍū’, and perfects it; and then enters his prayer, and perfects it – he comes out from his prayer as he came out from his mother’s stomach without any sins’” (Aḥmad).

Whilst performing wuḍū’, imagine your sins are leaving your body. Imagine the sins committed by your hands are being forgiven as you wash them. Imagine all the foul things that you said are being washed away as you gargle. And imagine the sins that you walked towards are leaving you as you wash your feet.

2. Your status raised

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Shall I not inform you of that through which Allah forgives sins and raises ranks by?” They said, “Of course, O Messenger of Allah!” He ﷺ said, “Performing wuḍū’ thoroughly despite the difficulties, walking lots of steps towards the Masājid and waiting for one ṣalāh after the other…” (Muslim).

When it is cold, and you would rather remain warm under your duvet, remember this ḥadīth and know that Allah is elevating your rank as a result of you battling your nafs.

3. Your identity marker

Abū Hurayrah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ once went to the graveyard and said, “Peace be upon you, dwelling of believing people, and we will – if Allah wills – join you soon. I wish I had seen our brothers!” They said, “Are we not your brothers, O Messenger of Allah?” He ﷺ replied, “Of course. You are my Companions. My brothers are those who have not yet come. I will welcome them at the ḥawḍ (pool).” They asked, “How will you recognise those who are still yet to appear amongst your ummah, O Messenger of Allah?” He ﷺ replied, “Do you think that if a man had a horse with a white blaze and hoof along with a completely jet-black horse, will he not recognise his horse?” They said, “Certainly, O Messenger of Allah.” He ﷺ said, “They will come with radiant white faces and marks from the wuḍū’, and I will be there to welcome them at the ḥawḍ (pool)” (Muslim).

Reflect

• The Prophet ﷺ missed you and longed to see you.

• He will be waiting for you in the hereafter.

• How will he ﷺ know who you are? The body parts you regularly washed in wuḍū’ will shine, and that is how he will recognise you.

4. Eight gates of Paradise will be opened for you

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Whoever perfects his wuḍū’ and then says,

أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَّا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا اللّٰهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيْكَ لَهُ ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ ورَسُوْلُهُ ، اَللّٰهُمَّ اجْعَلْنِيْ مِنَ التَّوَّابِيْنَ ، وَاجْعَلْنِيْ مِنَ المُتَطَهِّرِيْنَ

I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah. He is Alone and He has no partner whatsoever. I bear witness that Muḥammad ﷺ is His slave and His Messenger. O Allah make me amongst the repentant, and make me amongst those who purify themselves.

the eight gates of Paradise will be opened for him. He may enter through whichever one he wishes” (Tirmidhī).

Likewise, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Whosoever does wuḍū’ and says,

سُبْحَانَكَ اللّٰهُمَّ وَبِحَمْدِكَ ، أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَّا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ ، أَسْتَغْفِرُكَ وأَتُوْبُ إِلَيْكَ

You are free from imperfection, O Allah, and all praise is to You. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except You. I seek Your forgiveness and turn to You in repentance.

it will be recorded in a parchment and then sealed with a seal which will not be broken till the Day of Judgement” (Nasā’ī in ʿAmal al-Yawm wa al-Laylah).

Both of these duʿās will purify you from shirk (‘I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah’) and from sins (‘make me amongst the repentant’). This is why wuḍū’ is a comprehensive form of purification – both externally and internally.

In wuḍū’, we only wash those body parts that are easy to wash, which are exposed the most, and we sin with the most.

Now that you have thoroughly purified yourself, you are ready to stand in the court of the All-Powerful Himself.

Remember to say bismillāh before starting your wuḍū’ (Abū Dāwūd).

Reflect

I will ensure my place of prayer is clean, and that my body and clothes are both clean. I will ensure that my heart is purified for meeting my Lord and conversing with Him. I will purify it through repentance. I will regret my past sins and firmly resolve to abandon them in the future.

Taḥiyyat al-Wuḍū’

On completing your wuḍū’, pray two rakʿah of taḥiyyat al-wuḍū’ in the hope that your past sins will be forgiven. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “If anyone performs wuḍū’ like that of mine and offers a two rakʿah prayer during which he does not think of anything else, his past sins will be forgiven” (Bukhārī).

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said to Bilāl (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) at the time of the Fajr prayer, “O Bilāl! Inform me of the most hopeful act you have performed in Islam, for I heard your footsteps in front of me in Paradise.” Bilāl (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said, “I have not done anything more hopeful than that whenever I perform wuḍū’, be it in the day or night, I pray as much as has been decreed for me after wuḍū’ (i.e. taḥiyyat al-wuḍū’)” (Bukhārī).

When ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) would finish his wuḍū’ and get ready to start praying, he would start trembling and shaking. When this was mentioned to him, he said, “Woe to you! Do you know who I am going to stand in front of? Who I intend to converse with?”

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2: Facing The Qiblah & Raising The Hands

 

Whilst turning your face in the direction of the Kaʿbah, simultaneously turn your heart towards the Lord of the Kaʿbah, Allah (ʿazza wa jall). Remove everything else other than Him from your heart.

When soldiers or opponents surrender, they will raise their hands, as if to say ‘You’ve got me. I’m all yours!’ Similarly, raising your hands in ṣalāh is a physical manifestation of your surrender to Allah (ʿazza wa jall). However, this differs from surrendering to another human. It is not a surrender of humiliation or weakness. Instead, it represents great honour and strength, for there is no greater honour in this world than being a true servant of Allah. Even before declaring himself the Messenger of Allah, the Prophet ﷺ described himself as the ‘servant of Allah’.

Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh) described the raising of the hands as ‘the embellishment of ṣalāh’.

Go to Allah (ʿazza wa jall) and give yourself up to Him. As you raise your hands, throw the world behind you and get ready to converse with your Creator

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3: Takbir: Glorifying Allah

 

What does Allāhu Akbar mean?

Allāhu Akbar is one of the greatest statements any human being can utter. It is the statement through which you enter into your ṣalāh. It is also known as takbīrat al-taḥrīm. Once you enter ṣalāh, what was previously ḥalāl for you (e.g. eating, drinking and talking) has now become ḥarām for you. Similarly, you should make worldly thoughts ḥarām upon yourself.

You are now entering the ḥaram: a sacred space where you prevent others and your thoughts from coming in between you and Allah.

In Arabic, you may say: Zayd is bigger than Maḥmūd (زيد أكبر من محمود). Here we say Allāhu Akbar, hence, Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is greater than … Thus, what He is greater than has not been specified. This lack of specification (also known as ellipsis) indicates that Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is greater than everything.

Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is Greater than anything we can imagine. His greatness encompasses all things: He is Great in His Essence, His Names, His Attributes and His Actions. Allah is Supreme and Transcendent above every limitation and deficiency that is inherent in created beings.

Our limited minds are unable to comprehend the greatness of Allah. However, we can try to appreciate His greatness by pondering over His creation. By pondering over the greatness of the heavens, the earth, Allah’s Kursī and His Majestic Throne, and then realising how we are unable to comprehend them due to their greatness, we arrive at the most important realisation: how Great must their Creator be!

To understand His greatness, it helps to reflect on His greatest creation: His Throne (the ‘Arsh of Allah). The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The seven heavens in comparison to the Kursī is nothing but like a ring thrown in a desert, and the excellence of the Throne of Allah over the Kursī is like the excellence of that desert over that ring” (Bayhaqī).

In other words, imagine the Sahara Desert. The entire desert is the Kursī of Allah (ʿazza wa jall), and the size of the heavens and the earth in proportion is equivalent to a ring thrown in the desert.

Now close your eyes, and let your mind ascend. Wander around this desert, which is now the Throne of Allah (ʿazza wa jall), and remember that the Kursī in proportion is the size of a ring. Can you even imagine the size of the Throne of Allah (ʿazza wa jall)? It is truly mind-boggling.

If we cannot comprehend the above, how can we then comprehend the greatness of Allah (ʿazza wa jall)?

 

Mean what you say!

On uttering the phrase Allāhu Akbar, you say that Allah b is greater than everything in your heart. It is not sufficient to simply say this phrase. You have to also believe it. To be sincere in your utterance, you cannot give greater importance to something or someone other than Allah (ʿazza wa jall) in your heart. Let Him be the One.

Each time you utter the words ‘Allāhu Akbar’, remind yourself of the greatness of Allah and say: Allah is Greater… He is greater than me, greater than my desires, greater than my loved ones, greater than my hobbies, greater than the most powerful armies and empires, greater than everything.

Saying Allāhu Akbar with conviction should make you appreciate the greatness of the One whom you are standing in front of. When you remind yourself of His greatness, your self-importance should disappear as you remember how weak and insignificant you are. Thus, saying Allāhu Akbar also safeguards you from pride as you will no longer think of yourself or what you possess as great.

Saying Allāhu Akbar humbles you in front of Allah (ʿazza wa jall), and frees you from every type of servitude other than His. It gives you the strength and courage to confront falsehood and call to the truth.

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4: Qiyam (Standing)

 

Now that you have uttered the takbīr, remind yourself that you are standing in front of Allah.

Lower your head

Stand in front of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) the way a humble slave stands in front of his master. Remember whom you are standing before. Let your worldly qiyām (standing) remind you of the final qiyām, when you will stand on the Day of Judgement in front of the Compeller of the heavens and the earth. Lower your head and your gaze. Stop your eyes from wandering right or left. Do not glance at your surroundings. Keep your gaze fixed to the ground to help keep your focus.

ʿĀ’ishah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhā) asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ about when one looks here and there in ṣalāh. He ﷺ said, “It is snatching, which Shayṭān steals from the slave’s prayer” (Bukhārī).

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Allah will continue to turn towards the slave whilst he is in his prayer for as long as he does not look away. If he looks away, He will turn away” (Abū Dāwūd).

Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh) wrote, “The slave of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) stands in front of his Lord on two occasions: the first is when he stands in his ṣalāh and the second is when he will meet Him on the Day of Judgment. Whoever fulfils the rights of the first standing, the second standing will be made easy for him. And whoever belittles, neglects and does not fulfil the rights of the first standing (i.e. ṣalāh), the second standing will be made very difficult for him.”

Once, ʿAbdullāh b. ʿUmar (radiy Allāhu ʿanhumā) recited Sūrah al-Muṭaffifīn, until he reached the āyah:
يَوْمَ يَقُوْمُ النَّاسُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْنَ.
“The Day when mankind will stand before the Lord of the worlds” (83:6).
He cried until he collapsed and was unable to resume his recitation.

The positioning of the hands

Why do you fold your hands and place them over each other?

Imagine you walk into a palace and see two groups of people: one group have their hands on their hips, eyes roaming around everywhere, whilst the second group have their hands neatly clasped together and are respectfully looking down. Seeing this, you would easily identify those who are royalty and those who are the servants. Similarly, as you are a servant standing in front of Allah, placing one hand on the other respectfully symbolises your humility in front of Him.

Placing one hand over the other also prevents fidgeting and is conducive to attaining khushūʿ.

When you stand in prayer, stand in obedience and humility as Allah (ʿazza wa jall) has ordered you. Beware of negligence and looking here and there. Beware of looking at something else whilst Allah is looking at you. Beware of asking Allah (ʿazza wa jall) for Paradise and seeking His protection from the Hell-fire, yet your heart is heedless, and you do not know what your tongue is saying.” – al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī (raḥimahullāh)

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5: Istiftah (Opening Duʿa’)

 

Now that you are in your ṣalāh, you have entered the court of Allah (ʿazza wa jall). On meeting someone you love and revere, you greet them. Likewise, when meeting Allah (ʿazza wa jall), you will greet Him with words of respect and reverence. You may also choose to enter through the door of forgiveness (see duʿā #2), or you may combine both (see duʿā’ #6).

You may read any of the following duʿās:

.سُبْحَانَكَ اللّٰهُمَّ وَبِحَمْدِكَ ، وَتَبَارَكَ اسْمُكَ ، وَتَعَالَىٰ جَدُّكَ ، وَلَا إِلٰهَ غَيْرُكَ

How Perfect are You O Allah, and all praise is Yours. Your Name is most blessed, Your majesty is exalted and there is no god worthy of worship except You (Muslim).

سُبْحَانَ: Negates all negative attributes from Him. Thus, Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is Perfect; free from any weakness, defect and oppression. Allah (ʿazza wa jall) does not bear resemblance to any of His Creation.

حَمْدِ: Affirms all of His positive attributes. Ḥamd is to describe the praised one with perfection, love and utmost respect.

تَبَارَكَ اسْمُكَ: Your Name is Perfect, Exalted, Holy and is the source of all good in the heavens and the earth.

The Name of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is full of blessing and good. Uttering His Name before eating prevents Shayṭān from sharing your meal. Similarly, if you slaughter an animal without uttering the Name of Allah, it remains unlawful for you to eat. Thus, all matters which are not preceded by the Name of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) are deficient and defective.

Reflect

If the name of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is full of blessing and good, then how blessed must the Named One be?

جَدُّكَ: This refers to Allah’s majesty, greatness and grandeur.

وَلَا إِلٰهَ غَيْرُكَ: This is the kalimah (utterance) of tawḥīd (oneness), which all Messengers were sent with. It means there is none worthy of worship except for Allah (ʿazza wa jall).

All of the above naturally guides us to this ultimate word of truth. After affirming and uttering Allah’s absolute unique perfection, it only makes sense that He is the Only One who should be worshipped.

اَللّٰهُمَّ بَاعِدْ بَيْنِـيْ وَبَيْنَ خَطَايَاىَ كَمَا بَاعَدْتَ بَيْنَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ ، اَللّٰهُمَّ نَقِّنِيْ مِنَ الْخَطَايَا كَمَا يُنَقَّى الثَّوْبُ الْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الدَّنَسِ، اَللّٰهُمَّ اغْسِلْ خَطَايَاىَ بِالْمَاءِ وَالثَّلْجِ وَالْبَرَدِ

O Allah, distance me from my sins as You have distanced the East from the West. O Allah purify me from sins as a white cloth is purified from dirt. O Allah wash away my sins with water, hail and snow (Bukhārī).

.اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ حَمْدًا كَثِيْرًا طَيِّبًا مُّبَارَكًا فِيْهِ

All praise is for Allah; an abundant, sincere and blessed praise (Muslim).

Anas (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) narrated that a man came panting and joined the row (of congregants in ṣalāh), and then uttered [the above]. When the Messenger of Allah ﷺ finished his ṣalāh, he said, “…I saw twelve angels competing with each other to ascend with it.” (Muslim).

.اَللّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ كَبِيْرًا ، وَالْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ كَثِيْرًا ، وَسُبْحَانَ اللّٰهِ بُكْرَةً وَّأَصِيْلًا

Allah is Greater, the Greatest: abundant praise is for Allah, and how Perfect is Allah, in the morning and the evening (Muslim).

ʿAbdullāh b. ʿUmar (radiy Allāhu ʿanhumā) narrated, “Once we were praying with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ when a man said [the above]. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ (after the ṣalāh) asked, “Who uttered those words?” The man replied, “It was me, O Messenger of Allah.” He ﷺ said, “I was amazed by them – the doors of heaven were opened for them.” Ibn ʿUmar (radiy Allāhu ʿanhumā) said, “I have not stopped saying these words since I heard this statement of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ ” (Muslim).

.اَللّٰهُمَّ رَبَّ جَبْرَائِيْلَ وَمِيْكَائِيْلَ وَإِسْرَافِيْلَ ، فَاطِرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ، عَالِمَ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ ، أَنْتَ تَحْكُمُ بَيْنَ عِبَادِكَ فِيْمَا كَانُوْا فِيْهِ يَخْتَلِفُوْنَ ، اِهْدِنِيْ لِمَا اخْتُلِفَ فِيْهِ مِنَ الْحَقِّ بِإِذْنِكَ ، إِنَّكَ تَهْدِيْ مَنْ تَشَآءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيْمٍ

O Allah, Lord of Jabrā’īl, Mīkā’īl and Isrāfīl; Creator of the heavens and the earth; Knower of the unseen and seen, You will judge between Your servants in what they used to differ. Guide me in what is contentious to the truth, by Your Will. Certainly, You guide whomsoever You will to the straight path (Muslim).

وَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِيَ لِلَّذِيْ فَطَرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ حَنِيْفًا وَّمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِيْنَ ، إِنَّ صَلَاتِيْ وَنُسُكِيْ وَمَحْيَاىَ وَمَمَاتِيْ لِلّٰهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْنَ ، لَا شَرِيْكَ لَهُ وَبِذٰلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَا مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِيْنَ ، اَللّٰهُمَّ أَنْتَ الْمَلِكُ لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ ، ‏أَنْتَ رَبِّيْ وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ ، ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِيْ وَاعْتَرَفْتُ بِذَنْبِيْ فَاغْفِرْ لِيْ ذُنُوْبِيْ جَمِيْعًا ، إِنَّهُ لَا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوْبَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ ، وَاهْدِنِيْ لِأَحْسَنِ الْأَخْلَاقِ لَا يَهْدِيْ لِأَحْسَنِهَا إِلَّا أَنْتَ ، وَاصْرِفْ عَنِّيْ سَيِّئَهَا لَا يَصْرِفُ عَنِّيْ سَيِّئَهَا إِلَّا أَنْتَ ، لَبَّيْكَ وَسَعْدَيْكَ ، وَالْخَيْرُ كُلُّهُ فِيْ يَدَيْكَ ، وَالشَّرُّ لَيْسَ إِلَيْكَ ، أَنَا بِكَ وَإِلَيْكَ ، تَبَارَكْتَ وَتَعَالَيْتَ ، أَسْتَغْفِرُكَ وَأَتُوْبُ إِلَيْكَ

I have turned my face towards the One who created the heavens and the earth, turned away from all that is false having surrendered to Allah, and I am not of the polytheists. My ṣalāh, my sacrifice, my life and my death are all for Allah, Lord of the worlds, who has no partners. I have been commanded of this, and I am of those who submit. O Allah, You are the King, there is no god worthy of being worshipped except You. You are my Lord and I am Your slave. I have wronged myself and I confess my sins. Forgive all of my sins, for no one forgives except You. Guide me to the best of character, for no one guides to the best of it except You; and turn the evil of it away from me, for no one turns it away except You. Here I am, seeking Your pleasure and at Your service. All good is in Your hands and no evil is attributed to You. My (existence, protection and success) is from You and I am returning to You. You are Most Blessed and You are Most Exalted. I seek Your forgiveness and repent to You (Muslim).

By saying this duʿā’, you remind yourself of what Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhis-salām) said (see 6:79). You affirm the Oneness of Allah and disassociate yourself from shirk. The duʿā’ acts as a reminder of your purpose in life and that everything you do is for Him. You seek forgiveness and you ask Allah (ʿazza wa jall) to grant you beautiful character. You praise Him and show your desperate need of Him.

اَللّٰهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ ، أَنْتَ نُوْرُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَنْ فِيْهِنَّ ، وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ أَنْتَ قَيِّمُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَنْ فِيْهِنَّ ، وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ أَنْتَ الْحَقُّ ، وَوَعْدُكَ حَقٌّ ، وَقَوْلُكَ حَقٌّ ، وَلِقَاؤُكَ حَقٌّ ، وَالْجَنَّةُ حَقٌّ ، وَالنَّارُ حَقٌّ ، وَالسَّاعَةُ حَقٌّ ، وَالنَّبِيُّوْنَ حَقٌّ ، وَمُحَمَّدٌ حَقٌّ ، اَللّٰهُمَّ لَكَ أَسْلَمْتُ وَعَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَبِكَ آمَنْتُ ، وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْتُ وَبِكَ خَاصَمْتُ وَإِلَيْكَ حَاكَمْتُ

O Allah, for You Alone is all praise; You are the Light of the heavens and the earth and whatever is therein. For You Alone is all praise; You are the Maintainer of the heavens and the earth and whatever is therein. And for You Alone is all praise; You are the Truth, Your promise is the truth, and Your speech is the truth. The meeting with You is the truth, Paradise is the truth, and Hell-Fire is the truth. The Final Hour is the truth, the Prophets are the truth and Muhammad ﷺ is the truth. O Allah, I surrender myself to You Alone, I put my trust in You Alone, and I believe in You Alone. I turn to You Alone, I complain of my opponents to You Alone and I refer judgement to You Alone (Bukhārī).

The Messenger ﷺ would recite the above duʿā’ in his tahajjud ṣalāh.

.سُبْحَانَ اللّٰهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْنَ ، سُبْحَانَ اللّٰهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ

Allah is free from imperfection, the Lord of all the worlds. Allah is free from imperfection, and all praise is due to Him (Nasā’ī).

Rabīʿah b. al-Kaʿb (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said, “I used to spend the night by the room of the Prophet ﷺ.

I would hear him stand up at night (for prayer), and he would say سُبْحَانَ اللّٰهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْنَ for a long time. Then he would say سُبْحَانَ اللّٰهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ for a long time.”

.اَللهُ أَكْبَرُ x10, اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ x10, سُبْحَانَ اللهِ x10, لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا اللهُ x10, أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ x10
.اَللّٰهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِيْ وَاهْدِنِيْ وَارْزُقْنِيْ وَعَافِنِيْ ، أَعُوْذُ بِاللهِ مِنْ ضِيْقِ الْمَقَامِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

Allah is the Greatest (10x). All praise be to Allah (10x). Allah is free from imperfection (10x). There is no god worthy of worship but Allah (10x). I seek Allah’s forgiveness (10x). O Allah, forgive me, guide me, grant me sustenance and wellbeing. I seek Your protection from the anguish of standing on the Day of Judgement (Nasā’ī).

ʿĀsim b. Ḥumayd (raḥimahullāh) said, “I asked ʿĀ’ishah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhā) about what the Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to start his night prayer with. She said, “You have indeed asked me something which no one before you has asked me. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to say [the above]” (Nasā’ī).

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6: Istiʿadhah & Basmalah

 

ollowing the completion of the opening duʿā’, you will proceed on to seeking the protection of Allah from Shayṭān.

أَعُوْذُ بِاللهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيْمِ

I seek protection in Allah from the rejected Shayṭān.

أَعُوْذُ: I take refuge, safeguard myself, take precaution, and I am careful. عَاذَ means to flee from that which you fear will harm you to that which will protect you from it.

Istiʿādhah (seeking protection) is essentially an act of the heart. When seeking protection with Allah, you are: (1) throwing yourself in front of Him, displaying your need of Him, and (2) submitting and humbling yourself in front of Him.

Istiʿādhah also acts as an acknowledgement of Allah’s ultimate power, and the human being’s weakness and inability to combat the unseen enemy, Shayṭān.

Ṣalāh is Shayṭān’s battlefield. No other situation enrages and annoys Shayṭān more than ṣalāh. First, Shayṭān will try to make you miss your ṣalāh. If he fails, he will try to make you delay it as much as possible. Again, if he fails, he will try to dissuade you from your sunnah and nafl prayers. If he still fails to deter you, he will come to you in your ṣalāh and try to ruin it with his constant whispers.

Be vigilant and constantly guard your ṣalāh, for Shayṭān is a thief who wants to ‘steal’ from your ṣalāh until you have nothing left in it. Shayṭān is an evil enemy. His invisibility makes him even more deadly. Because we cannot see him, we forget about him. In an increasingly material world, when we have a problem, we tend to look for physical causes. It would not be considered ‘intellectual’ or ‘scientific’ to blame Shayṭān and his cronies. Although he is not always the culprit, Shayṭan is constantly inflicting his evil on the children of Ādam. He comes and goes. He is described in the Qur’ān as ‘khannās’: the one who retreats and comes back. He always lurks about to inflict maximum damage wherever possible.

Shayṭān will especially try his best to prevent you from reciting Qur’ān with reflection (tadabbur). This is because reflecting on the Qur’ān gives life to the heart, and is the secret of worldly and heavenly bliss.

Shayṭān rages with envy. The angels prostrated to Ādam in obedience to Allah’s command, whilst he refused and was thrown out of Paradise. Up until today, he tries his utmost to prevent the sons of Ādam from prostrating. When you understand his envy and his tenacity in pursuing you, remember that you cannot defeat him by yourself: you need his and your Master, Allah (ʿazza wa jall), on your side.

It is for this reason that Ibn Taymiyyah (raḥimahullāh) once told his student, Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh), “If a shepherd-dog attacks you, don’t bother fighting him back. Instead seek the help of the shepherd because he will push the dog away from you and will protect you from him.” Thus, the protection of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) – the All-Powerful (al-Qawiyy), the Guardian (al-Ḥafīẓ) – is our most effective weapon to defeat Shayṭān.

You may also choose to recite the slightly longer form of the istiʿādhah:

أَعُوْذُ بِاللّٰهِ السَّمِيْعِ الْعَلِيْمِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيْمِ ، مِنْ هَمْزِهِ وَنَفْخِهِ وَنَفْثِهِ

I seek protection in Allah, the All-Hearing and All-Knowing from the rejected Shaytān; from his promptings (inciting madness), his blowing (of pride in the hearts) and his obscene poetry. (Aḥmad).

Basmalah

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Very Merciful.

You start by asking for the help of Allah (ʿazza wa jall). Through this, you are expressing your servitude to Him. By uttering His Name, you are also asking Him to bless you in all that you do.

بِسْمِ اللهِ: By stating ‘In the Name of Allah’ you are saying ‘I begin with every Name that belongs to Him.’ This includes all of His Most Beautiful and Perfect Names, and you are asking Him through all of His Names. By saying bismillāh, you are acknowledging His rubūbiyyah and ulūhiyyah (Oneness in His Lordship and sole right to being worshipped).

اللهِ: The only One deserving of being singled out for worship due to His Perfect Godly Attributes. Many scholars have regarded this Name to be ‘the Greatest Name of Allah’. It is a comprehensive name which includes all of His Names. It can only be used for Him.

الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ : (Article coming soon)

 

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7: Reciting Qur’an

 

Once you have recited you opening duʿā’, you will now recite Sūrah al-Fātiḥah, followed on by a sūrah or a selection of āyāt from the Qur’ān.

A summary of how to recite the Qur’an in your salah:

1. Always recall that you are standing in front of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) and that you are conversing with Him.

2. Recite slowly and beautifully.

3. Reflect on the words you are reciting. Fill your heart with love, hope and fear according to the words you are reciting.

4. When you come across an āyah about mercy, stop and ask Allah for His mercy. When you come across an āyah about punishment, stop and ask Allah’s protection. When you come across an āyah where you can make a duʿā’, stop and ask Allah.

5. Whilst reciting, try to visualise and interact with what you are saying.

6. Alternate between what you recite.

“Know that everything that distracts you from understanding the meaning of your recitation is a whispering of doubt from Shayṭān.” – al-Ghazālī (raḥimahullāh)

Read the more detailed article Recite and Reflect on the Qur’an for how you should recite in ṣalāh.

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8: Al-Fatihah – The Greatest Surah

 

Have you ever wondered why Allah chose this specific sūrah from all the other sūrahs in the Qur’ān? Why are we required to read Sūrah al-Fātihah at least 17 times a day?

Why is it repeated in every single rakʿah? What’s so amazing about this sūrah?

Al-Fātiḥah means ‘the Opening’ as it opens the Qur’ān. It is the entrance for the Qur’ān and your ṣalāh; and your entry for attaining closeness to your Lord. Ṣūrah al-Fātiḥah is also known as the Mother of the Qur’ān, the Seven Oft-Repeated āyāt and the Cure. It is the greatest sūrah in the Qur’ān and the key to the entire Qur’ān. It is also both an introduction and a summary of the whole Qur’ān.

Al-Ḥasan (raḥimahullāh) said, “Allah sent down 104 books from the heavens and He condensed these books into four books: the Torah, the Zabūr, the Injīl and the Qur’ān. Then He condensed the content of the first three books into the Qur’ān. He then condensed the content of the Qur’ān into the Mufaṣṣal (Sūrahs 50-114). He then condensed the content of the Mufaṣṣal into Sūrah al-Fātiḥah.” Others added that that the content of Sūrah al-Fātiḥah can be condensed into the āyah: “You Alone we worship, and You Alone we ask for help.”

The 3 Key Themes

Sūrah al-Fātiḥah was revealed in Makkah. In keeping with the other Makkan sūrahs it focuses on the three fundamental principles:

1. Establishing the Oneness of Allah (ʿazza wa jall).

2. Establishing Prophethood.

3. Belief in the Hereafter.

Ṣūrah al-Fātiḥah: A Special Conversation

A distinctive quality that makes Ṣūrah al-Fātiḥāh extremely special is that it forms a unique conversation between you and Allah (ʿazza wa jall). Allah (ʿazza wa jall) responds to you after every āyah that you read in it.

Memorise the following ḥadīth, as it will transform your ṣalāh.

 

You say: Allah replies:
اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْنَ
My slave has praised Me
الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
My slave has extolled Me
مٰلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
My slave has glorified Me (or My slave has entrusted his affairs to Me.
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِيْنُ
This is between Me and My slave and My slave shall have what he asked for.
اِهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيْمَ ، صِرَاطَ الَّذِيْنَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوْبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّآلِّيْنَ
This is for My slave and My slave shall have what he asked for.

At the end of reading each āyah, pause like the Prophet ﷺ would when reciting al-Fātiḥah. Take a moment to reflect on Allah’s reply to you.

Reflect

On reading ‘My slave’ in the above hadith, what feeling does this invoke in you?

Think back to when you would visit your parents or grandparents, and they would affectionately say, ‘My child/son/daughter has come.’ How did this phrase make you feel?

Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is above all examples. He is the Most Powerful and the Lord of the worlds. Despite being an unworthy sinful slave of His, He still addresses you here as, ‘My slave.’

Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh) said, “How extreme is the joy and happiness of the slave when his Lord says ‘My slave’ three times. By Allah, if the hearts were not clouded by the smoke of the desires and lusts, they would erupt from joy and delight when their Lord, Creator and God says, ‘My slave has praised Me, My slave has extolled me, My slave has glorified Me.’”

Sūrah al-Fātiḥah: The Best Duʿā’

Each time you recite Sūrah al-Fātiḥah, do you remember that it is a duʿā’?

Allah (ʿazza wa jall) taught us this perfect duʿā’ because of His endless Mercy. As humans, we continuously make mistakes and commit sins, and are in constant need of guidance. We need this guidance more than food and drink. By guiding us, Allah (ʿazza wa jall) helps us to obey Him and to stop sinning. Thus, no evil will befall us in this world nor the hereafter. For this reason, this sūrah is one of the most comprehensive duʿās.

The sūrah is also a lesson and a reminder on how to make duʿā’. Firstly, you ask Allah (ʿazza wa jall) through His Perfect Names, and, secondly, you express your servitude and need for Him. Sūrah al-Fātiḥah also reminds you of the importance of repetition and persistence when making duʿā’, as you make this duʿā’ at least 17 times every day.

Sūrah al-Fātiḥah reminds me…

  • of who Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is
  • to affirm the Oneness of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) and to strengthen my īmān in Him
  • of the endless mercy & love of Allah (ʿazza wa jall)
  • of my end and my ultimate destiny
  • to not only contemplate deeply over Paradise and the love of Allah (ʿazza wa jall), but also to think about the Hell-fire and the fear of Allah (ʿazza wa jall)
  • to praise Allah (ʿazza wa jall) with His Beautiful and Perfect Names
  • of the importance of gratitude
  • of my purpose in life, while also answering my questions of ‘Where did I come from?’ and ‘Where am I going?’
  • of the most important relationship in my life: the slave-Master relationship
  • to ask, trust, humble myself and worship Him Alone
  • of who I should and should not aspire to be like
  • of the importance of following the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ and of loving him
  • not to become complacent and to always ask Allah (ʿazza wa jall) for guidance and firmness.

Āmīn

Remember to seal Sūrah al-Fātiḥah with Āmīn. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “When the imām says Āmīn, then say Āmīn; for indeed the one whose Āmīn coincides with the Āmīn of the angels will have his previous sins forgiven” (Bukhārī).

Āmīn means, “O Allah, accept my duʿā.” ʿAlī (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said, “Āmīn is the seal of the Lord of the worlds. It is with it that His slaves seal their duʿā’.

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9: Ruku: A Pillar of Glorification

 

Once you have completed your recitation, go down into rukūʿ, saying ‘Allāhu Akbar’ (Allah is Greater than…!). Reflect on the meaning of this great phrase when you say it.

Lower your head in awe of the Lord of the worlds. Straighten your back, let every joint in your body relax, and glorify Him by uttering:

x3 سُبْحَانَ رَبِّـيَ الْعَظِيْمِ

How perfect is my Lord, the Magnificent!

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “As for the rukūʿ, then magnify the Lord in it” (Muslim).

Rukūʿ is one of the most significant pillars of ṣalāh. Its position is one of the most intense symbols of servitude, submission and humility. In rukūʿ, not only do you glorify Allah (ʿazza wa jall) but you also simultaneously humble: the heart, the tongue and the limbs. Feel your self-importance diminishing, whilst the awe and glory of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) expand in your heart. The more your heart glorifies Allah (ʿazza wa jall), the fear and awe of His creation will slowly vanish from your heart.

Everything other than Allah (ʿazza wa jall) will begin to appear small and insignificant.

Do not rush this position. Take your time, prolong your rukūʿ whenever possible and inshā’Allah you will feel the sweetness and joy in this position.

The secret of rukūʿ

The adhkār (remembrances) of rukūʿ are the secret of this pillar. Make every effort to memorise them. They will help you in internalising the greatness and grandeur of Allah (ʿazza wa jall). The Prophet ﷺ would lengthen his rukūʿ to the same duration as his qiyām in his voluntary prayers, repeating the following adhkār with humility, devotion and reflection:

1. سُبْحَانَ رَبِّـيَ الْعَظِيْمِ

How perfect is my Lord, the Magnificent!

In stating the word ‘subḥān’, you are declaring the perfection of Allah and negating all deficiencies. This is followed by the word ‘rabbī’ (my Lord). Note the use of the pronoun ‘my’. Saying ‘my’ should stir a sense of closeness, bonding and love. Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is my Lord, the One who created me, nurtures me, feeds me, clothes me, heals me and manages all of my affairs. Next, you describe Him (ʿazza wa jall) as ‘al-ʿAẓīm’: the Magnificent, the Great.

سُبْحَانَ اللّٰهِ means to glorify Allah (ʿazza wa jall) above any imperfection or deficiency i.e Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is free from all defects. Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is the Most Glorified who has no partner or rival, who possesses every aspect of perfection, and whose actions are pure and free from evil.

2. سُبْحَانَ ذِي الْجَبَرُوْتِ والْمَلَكُوْتِ والْكِبْرِيَاءِ والْعَظَمَةِ

How perfect is the Owner of might, dominion, grandeur and greatness! (Abu Dawūd).

الْجَبَرُوْتِ [might]: the origin of this word is jabr. This refers to:

a) The power and might of Allah (ʿazza wa jall), through which He compels His creation according to His will, and through which He will seize the worldly jabābirah (tyrants).

b) Allah (ʿazza wa jall) mending and restoring the condition of those who are ‘broken’, weak and oppressed.

c) The sublimeness of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) which cannot be comprehended by the limited human mind.

الْمَلَكُوْتِ [dominion]: Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is the King, whose dominion is everything that surrounds us; that which we can see and cannot see. Of the latter are the Kursī, the Throne of Allah, Paradise and the Hell-fire.

الْكِبْرِيَاءِ [grandeur]: This quality is only praiseworthy for Allah (ʿazza wa jall), and is not one that human beings should have. Only He is entirely Perfect in every sense.

الْعَظَمَةِ [greatness]: There is nothing greater, more vast and more powerful than Allah. Our limited minds cannot perceive His greatness.

3. اَللّٰهُمَّ لَكَ رَكَعْتُ ، وَبِكَ اٰمَنْتُ ، وَلَكَ أَسْلَمْتُ ، خَشَعَ لَكَ سَمْعِيْ ، وَبَصَرِيْ ، وَمُخِّيْ ، وَعَظْمِيْ ، وَعَصَبِيْ

O Allah, for You Alone I have bowed in prayer, in You Alone I have believed, and to You Alone I have submitted. My hearing, sight, mind, bones and nerves are humble to You (Muslim).

In this duʿā’, you are affirming your devotion and submission to Allah (ʿazza wa jall), the Almighty.

سَمْعِيْ [My hearing]: My hearing has humbled to You, thereby, ensuring I will not listen to anything that displeases you. I will not listen to evil speech, backbiting or music.

بَصَرِيْ [My sight]: My sight has humbled to You. I will, therefore, not look at anything unlawful.

These two senses have been singled out in this duʿā’ because they are responsible for most of our distractions. The humbling of both these senses and ensuring they submit to Allah (ʿazza wa jall) will result in an automatic decrease in the whispers of Shayṭān. The impact of this will then appear on the rest of the body.

Reflect

Ask yourself: Have I really submitted?

Am I watching ḥarām content? Am I engaging in ribā? Am I being good to my neighbours? Am I observing ḥijāb as per the commands of Allah , or am I being swayed by society’s false interpretation of it?

4. سُبُّوْحٌ، قُدُّوْسٌ، رَبُّ الْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالرُّوْحِ

The Supremely Perfect, The Most Pure, The Lord of the Angels and the Spirit [Jibrīl] (Muslim).

قُدُّوْسٌ [The Most Pure]: Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is Pure from all defects and evil. He is Pure in His (ʿazza wa jall) Essence and in all of His actions. He is Free from what our imaginations perceive about Him; He transcends what we think of as ‘perfection’. He is Free from oppression, partner or child. There is no one like Him. He b purifies the hearts of His believing slaves, and is glorified by them and the angels.

5. سُبْحَانَكَ اللّٰهُمَّ رَبَّنَا وَبِحَمْدِكَ، اَللّٰهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِيْ

How perfect are You, O Allah, our Lord, and all praise is for You. O Allah, forgive me (Muslim).

This duʿā’ affirms the positive attributes of Allah (ʿazza wa jall), and negates all negative attributes. The praise also precedes the request for forgiveness, making it likelier to be accepted.

The Prophet ﷺ would supplicate regularly with this duʿā’. ʿĀ’ishah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhā) reported, “I did not see the Messenger of Allah ﷺ performing any prayer since (Sūrah al-Naṣr) was revealed, except that he supplicated or said in it [the above supplication]” (Muslim).

This is because Sūrah al-Naṣr contains the direct commandment of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) to His beloved ﷺ: “Then extol the perfection and praise of your Lord, and seek forgiveness from Him. Surely He is Ever Relenting” (110:3).

The above command was revealed to him at the end of his life to prepare him to meet his Lord. Thus, he ﷺ was instructed to occupy himself in glorifying, praising and seeking forgiveness from Him.

6. سُبْحَانَكَ وَبِحَمْدِكَ لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ

How Perfect are You, and all praise is for You. There is no god worthy of worship except You (Muslim).

When the night would approach, Uways al-Qarnī (raḥimahullāh) would say, “This night is for bowing”, and he would bow until the morning. Sometimes he would say, “This night is for prostrating”, and he would prostrate until the morning.

Reflect

Ask yourself, how is my submission to Allah (ʿazza wa jall)? Do I submit to Him (ʿazza wa jall) equally both in private and in public? Is my submission to Allah (ʿazza wa jall) the same when I am serious and when I am joking around? Do I take jokes too far by lying, just to make others laugh? Do I submit in times of anger like I do when I am calm? Or do I dispose of the beautiful conduct which my faith in Allah (ʿazza wa jall) requires from me, and hurt those around me?

Reflect

A temporary submission

Do I submit to Allah inwardly and outwardly in Ramaḍān, but then forget Him (ʿazza wa jall) throughout the rest of the year?

Do I return to Allah (ʿazza wa jall) and beg His (ʿazza wa jall) forgiveness when I become ill or am undergoing difficulty, and then forget about Him (ʿazza wa jall) once my health has improved or the difficulty has passed?

Do I cry and does my heart soften when a loved one passes away, but quickly become distracted again by the glamour and glitz of this life?

Do I wear ḥijāb when I visit the house of Allah, but then remove it after leaving?

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10: Standing up from Ruku: A Pillar of Praise

 

After rukūʿ, stand up straight and raise your hands saying:

سَمِعَ اللّٰهُ لِمَنْ حَمِدَهُ

May Allah respond to the one who praises Him.

Take your time in this posture as it is a unique posture that precedes and prepares you for the greatest pillar of ṣalāh: sujūd. Stand up calmly and give this posture its due. The Prophet ﷺ used to lengthen this posture, just as he would lengthen his rukūʿ and sujūd.

This pillar of ṣalāh is a special pillar in which you praise the Lord of Majesty and Honour. Therefore, once you are peacefully standing, say one of the following:

1. اَللّٰهُمَّ رَبَّنَا لَكَ الْحَمْدُ

O Allah, our Lord, to You Alone belongs all praise.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “When the Imām says: سَمِعَ اللّٰهُ لِمَنْ حَمِدَهُ say: اَللّٰهُمَّ رَبَّنَا لَكَ الْحَمْدُ, for indeed whoever coincides in saying this with the angels, his past sins will be forgiven” (Bukhārī).

2. رَبَّنَا وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ، حَمْدًا كَثِيْرًا طَيِّبًا مُّبَارَكًا فِيْهِ

Our Lord, to You Alone belongs all praise; abundant, pure and blessed praise.

Rifāʿah b. Rāfiʿ(raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) narrated, “One day we were praying behind the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. When he raised his head from rukūʿ, he ﷺ said ُ سَمِعَ اللّٰهُ لِمَنْ حَمِدَهُ

A man behind him ﷺ said [the above]. When he ﷺ finished, he asked, ‘Who uttered those words?’ The man replied, ‘Me.’ The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘I saw some thirty-something angels racing to write it first’” (Bukhārī).

3. لِرَبِّيَ الْحَمْدُ ، لِرَبِّيَ الْحَمْدُ

For my Lord alone is all praise. For my Lord alone is all praise. (Abū Dāwūd)

4. رَبَّنَا لَكَ الْحَمْدُ مِلْءَ السَّمٰـوٰتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمِلْءَ مَا شِئْتَ مِنْ شَىْءٍ بَعْدُ ، أَهْلَ الثَّنَاءِ وَالْمَجْدِ ، أَحَقُّ مَا قَالَ الْعَبْدُ – وَكُلُّنَا لَكَ عَبْدٌ – اَللّٰهُمَّ لَا مَانِعَ لِمَا أَعْطَيْتَ ، وَلَا مُعْطِيَ لِمَا مَنَعْتَ ، وَلَا يَنْفَعُ ذَا الْجَدِّ مِنْكَ الْجَدُّ

O Allah, for You Alone is all praise; praise which fills the heavens and the earth, and which fills whatever You wish after that. You are most worthy of praise and glory. The greatest truth the slave can utter is – and we are all Your slaves – O Allah, there is none who can withhold what You give, and none can give what You withhold; and the wealth of the wealthy does not avail him from You (Muslim).

In this dhikr, you are praising Allah (ʿazza wa jall) to a level beyond your imagination!

لَا مَانِعَ لِمَا أَعْطَيْتَ ، وَلَا مُعْطِيَ لِمَا مَنَعْتَ [O Allah, there is none who can withhold what You give, and none can give what You withhold]: This is reminiscent of the Prophet’s advice to his cousin ʿAbdullāh b. ʿAbbās (radiy Allāhu ʿanhumā), who narrated, “One day I was behind the Messenger of Allah ﷺ (on a camel) and he said to me, ‘Son, I will teach you some words: Be mindful of Allah and He will be mindful of you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you. When you ask, then ask Allah. When you seek help, then seek help from Allah. Know that if the nation gathered together to benefit you with something, they would only benefit you with something that Allah has already written for you. If they gathered together to harm you with something, they would only harm you with something that Allah had already written against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried’ (Tirmidhī).

الْجَدُّ: Jadd means good fortune and includes: wealth, power, and fame. None of these can protect you from the punishment of Allah (ʿazza wa jall).

Reflect

I am content with all that Allah (ʿazza wa jall) has decreed for me. I am not anxious or envious. I do not hold grudges in my heart towards someone who may have more than me. Rather my daily ṣalāh – and this reminder in particular – fills my heart with contentment and peace.

5. اَللّٰهُمَّ رَبَّنَا لَكَ الْحَمْدُ مِلْءَ السَّمٰـوٰتِ وَمِلْءَ الْأَرْضِ وَمِلْءَ مَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَمِلْءَ مَا شِئْتَ مِنْ شَيْءٍ بَعْدُ

O Allah, Our Lord, for You Alone is all praise; praise which fills the heavens, which fills the earth, which fills whatever is in between them, and which fills whatever You wish after that (Muslim).

6. اَللّٰهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ مِلْءَ السَّمَاءِ وَمِلْءَ الْأَرْضِ، وَمِلْءَ مَا شِئْتَ مِنْ شَيْءٍ بَعْدُ، اَللّٰهُمَّ طَهِّرْنِيْ بِالثَّلْجِ وَالْبَرَدِ وَالْمَاءِ الْبَارِدِ، اَللّٰهُمَّ طَهِّرْنِيْ مِنَ الذُّنُوْبِ وَالْخَطَايَا كَمَا يُنَقَّى الثَّوْبُ الْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الْوَسَخِ

O Allah, for You Alone is all Praise which fills the heavens and the earth, and which fills whatever You wish after that. O Allah, purify me with snow, hail and cold water. O Allah, purify me from sins and mistakes as white cloth is purified of dirt (Muslim).

Reflect

This pillar of the ṣalāh is characterised by the praising and thanking of Allah. Praise Him (ʿazza wa jall) for allowing you to bow down to Him (ʿazza wa jall) and to express your humility to Him, especially as there are so many people who do not share this privilege. Thank Him for all His (ʿazza wa jall) blessings upon you.

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11: Sujud: The Greatest Pillar of Salah

 

You will now proceed on to say Allāhu Akbar and fall into prostration. Sujūd is the secret of ṣalāh and its greatest pillar. Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh) stated that all the actions before this great deed were just preludes to it.

Every preparation you make before ṣalāh is for this meeting point with Allah (ʿazza wa jall). Sujūd is the closest you can be to Allah (ʿazza wa jall), despite your weaknesses and many sins. Sujūd is a unique and special meeting point with Allah (ʿazza wa jall). When you are in sajdah, peeping at someone or something becomes very difficult. When in sajdah, you lower your entire body, your face and ultimately your heart. You submit to Him, glorify Him and pour out your heart to Him. There is no greater manifestation of your servitude to Him than this great act.

Furthermore, Allah (ʿazza wa jall) has dignified sujūd by making its effect manifest on the face, the most noble part of the human body. Allah (ʿazza wa jall) says, “…Their distinguishing feature – as a result of prostration – is on their faces” (48:29).

According to some scholars, this āyah signifies the brightness and radiance of their faces on the Day of Judgement. Others says it refers to khushūʿ, humility and outstanding character as a result of their sujūd.

On the Day of Judgement, the Prophet ﷺ will recognise his ummah from their shining faces. Their faces will be radiant as a result of their sujūd in this world. The more sujūd you perform in this world, the more radiant your face will be in the hereafter and the quicker you will be identified by the Prophet ﷺ.

Allah (ʿazza wa jall) has made the Hell-fire ḥarām for the face which prostrates itself to Him. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Hell-fire will consume all of the son of Ādam except the mark of prostration. Allah has forbidden the Fire to consume the mark of prostration” (Ibn Mājah).

The 7 Objectives of Sujūd

1. Humility and showing your absolute need

In sujūd you are rubbing your face (the noblest part of your body) onto the ground, and thereby completely humbling yourself to Allah. Therefore, show Allah (ʿazza wa jall) your absolute need for Him. Go to Him completely and broken. Think of how weak and helpless you are.

Ensure there is no barrier between the ground and your face. The Prophet ﷺ purposely rubbed his blessed face in the mud, demonstrating the extent to which he humbled himself in front of Allah (ʿazza wa jall).

Prostrating on the earth acts as a reminder of your humble origins and the place of your ultimate return: the grave. People walk and trample on the earth, yet this is the same substance you have been created from. As you lower your face,lower your ego and place it onto the ground. Purify yourself from pride and humble yourself to the Most Magnificent.

There is no slave who offers even one sajdah for the sake of Allah on any portion of the earth, except that it will testify for him on the Day of Judgement and will cry for him the day he dies.” – ʿAṭā’ al-Khurāsānī (raḥimahullāh)

Let each part of your body humble itself for Allah (ʿazza wa jall) and show its servitude (ʿubudiyyah) to Him. Not only should your face be lowered and humbled, but so should your hands, knees and feet. Lift your stomach from your thighs and your arms from the sides of your body. Ensure your arms are not spread out on the floor. Let each part of your body physically demonstrate its servitude to its Master and do not let them be dependent on each other. Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh) explained that in sajdah, the lower body ends up at a higher level than the upper body, and this emphasises the submission of the slave. In this broken and lowly state, the slave glorifies and magnifies Allah (ʿazza wa jall).

The secret of the prostration is the prostration of the heart. Thus, it is vital that just as your body performs sajdah, your heart should also perform sajdah. One of the predecessors was asked, “Can the heart prostrate too?” He replied, “By Allah, of course! A prostration from which he does not raise his head, until he meets Allah.”

Reflect

The need, desperation and humility you feel in sujūd and in front of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) should extend beyond your ṣalāh. You will only have internalised servitude (your ultimate purpose in life) when you think entirely of yourself as nothing, and desperately turn to Him for everything. Not only will you rely solely on Him, but you will also strive to please Him and abstain from disobeying Him. Similarly, this humility should prevent you from looking down on others and remove every trace of pride from your heart.

2. Closeness

Savour the sweetness of being close to Allah al-Qarīb (The Ever-Near) in sujūd. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The closest a slave is to his Lord is when he is prostrating” (Muslim).

Allah (ʿazza wa jall) instructed His beloved ﷺ, “…Prostrate and draw near (to Allah)” (96:19).

The longer your sajdah, the greater your chance of enjoying Allah’s close intimacy. In this world, we seek closeness with those whom we love since we derive peace and tranquillity in their company. With Allah (ʿazza wa jall), there is even more peace and tranquillity if we sincerely seek His closeness. To truly feel the sweetness of ṣalāh, you have to feel the sweetness of sujūd.

3. Duʿā’

Sujūd is one of the best times to make duʿā’. Pour your heart out to Allah (ʿazza wa jall) in this time, and cry out of fear of Him. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “As for sujūd, go to great lengths in making duʿā’ in it, as it is likely that your duʿā’ shall be answered” (Muslim)

Make duʿā’ for everything, be it minor or major. (See our publication ‘I Am Near’ for a detailed guide on how to make duʿā’). Be selfless and make duʿā’ for your family, friends and the ummah. Be like Abu al-Dardā’ (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) who said, “Indeed I make duʿā’ for thirty of my brothers whilst I am in sujūd, with their names and their fathers’ names.”

Have conviction that Allah (ʿazza wa jall) will accept your duʿā’. Sufyān b. ʿUyaynah (raḥimahullāh) said, “Whatever (evil) you know about yourself should not prevent you from making duʿā’, because Allah accepted the duʿā’ of the worst of Allah’s creation. Iblīs – may he be cursed – said, ‘My Lord, give me respite until the Day when they are resurrected.’ (Allah) said, ‘You are of those given respite.’”

Reflect

Five times a day I will knock at the door of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) and go to Him with my problems, worries and needs. The longer I spend in conversation with Him, the more at ease my heart feels. I feel lighter and I feel calmness enveloping me. I also remember my loved ones and I make duʿā’ for all those suffering in the ummah.

4. Sins being forgiven

Visualise your sins being perched on top of your shoulders as you are in sujūd. The greater your khushūʿ, the more you will cry. The more sincere you are in your crying, the faster your sins will fall off your shoulders, like leaves off a tree.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “When the slave stands to pray, all of his sins are brought and placed on his head and shoulders. Whenever he bows or prostrates, they fall off him” (Ṭabarānī).

The greater your sins, the lengthier you should stay in sujūd. By the will of Allah (ʿazza wa jall), your tears will wash away the dirt accumulated on your heart due to your sins.

Maʿdān b. Ṭalḥah (raḥimahullāh) said, “I met Thawbān (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu), the freed slave of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. So, I asked him, ‘Inform me of a deed through which Allah will grant me good and admit me into Paradise.’ He remained silent for quite a while. He then turned to me and said, ‘Hold on to sujūd, for indeed I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say: There is no slave who performs a sajdah except that Allah raises him a level through it, and wipes away a sin from him through it’” (Tirmidhī).

5. Be with the Prophet ﷺ in the highest heaven

Rabīʿah b. Kaʿb (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) would spend the night in the service of the Prophet ﷺ and bring him water for his purification and wuḍū’. Once, the Prophet ﷺ said to him, “Ask!” Rabīʿah said, “I ask you for your company in Paradise.” When the Prophet ﷺ asked him if he would like anything else, he replied, “Only that.” The Prophet ﷺ then told him, “Then help me to achieve this for you through abundant sujūd” (Muslim).

Perform additional voluntary prayers and prostrations, and have the intention of being raised to the highest heaven so that you can be in the company of the Prophet ﷺ.

If you saw Ḥabīb b. Abī Thābit, you would think that he has died (due to his long prostration).”- Abū Bakr b. ʿAyyāsh (raḥimahullāh)

6. Feel happy about overcoming your enemy

Feel happy that you have overcome your greatest enemy, Shayṭan who detests that you fall into prostration to your Lord. Visualise him crying in the corner of your room, saying, “Woe to me! The son of Ādam was commanded to prostrate, and he prostrated so for him is Paradise. I was commanded to prostrate, and I refused so for me is Hell-fire” (Muslim).

7. Feel a sense of self-honour

Feel honoured that you only bow your head to Allah (ʿazza wa jall) and to none of His creation. You are only relying on Him and it is Him (ʿazza wa jall) Alone that you ask for help. Be like Imām Aḥmad (raḥimahullāh) who said, “O Allah, as you have protected my face from prostrating to other than You, then protect it from asking anyone other than You.”

I saw Sufyān al-Thawrī in sajdah. I went around the Kaʿbah seven times before he raised his head.” – ʿAlī b. Fuḍayl (raḥimahullāh)

The Adhkar of Sujud

It was the practice of the Prophet ﷺ to lengthen his sujūd. He said, “When one of you prays, he should complete his rukūʿ and he should not peck in his ṣujūd, for the example of this is like the hungry person who consumes one or two dates. What use will they be for him?” (Ṭabarānī). He ﷺ also said, “The ṣalāh of a person will not suffice unless he straightens his back in rukūʿ and sujūd” (Abū Dāwūd).

One way of lengthening your sujūd is by memorising and supplicating (especially in your nafl prayers) with the following sunnah adhkār:

1. x3 سُبْحَانَ رَبِّـيَ الْأَعْلَىٰ

How Perfect is my Lord, the Most High.

When you are in sujūd, you are at your lowest having placed your face on the ground. Therefore, it is most apt that you proclaim His greatness, along with affirming His (ʿazza wa jall) perfection above anything which does not befit His (ʿazza wa jall) greatness and grandeur.

2. سُبُّوْحٌ قُدُّوْسٌ، رَبُّ الْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالرُّوْحِ

The Supremely Perfect, The Most Pure, The Lord of the Angels and the Spirit (Jibrīl).

3. سُبْحَانَكَ اللّٰهُمَّ رَبَّنَا وبِحَمْدِكَ ، اَللّٰهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِيْ

How Perfect are You, Allah our Lord, and for You is all praise. O Allah, forgive me.

4. سُبْحَانَكَ وَبِحَمْدِكَ ، لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ

You are free from imperfection, and all praise is to You. There is no god worthy of worship except You.

5. اَللّٰهُمَّ لَكَ سَجَدْتُ ، وَبِكَ اٰمَنْتُ ، وَلَكَ أَسْلَمْتُ ، سَجَدَ وَجْهِيْ لِلَّذِيْ خَلَقَهُ وَصَوَّرَهُ وَشَقَّ سَمْعَهُ وَبَصَرَهُ ، تَبَارَكَ اللّٰهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِيْنَ

O Allah, for You Alone I have prostrated, in You Alone I have believed, and to You Alone I have submitted. My face has prostrated to the One who created and fashioned it, and who formed its hearing and sight. Blessed is Allah, the Best of Creators.

Whilst reading this duʿā’, feel a sense of shame and shyness from the One who granted you all of the aforementioned blessings; and yet you still disobey Him. Imagine you were blind and Allah (ʿazza wa jall) had not bestowed you with the gift of sight. Imagine you were deaf and you could not hear your loved ones or the recitation of the Qur’ān.

6. سُبْحَانَ ذِي الْجَبَرُوْتِ ، وَالْمَلَكُوْتِ ، وَالْكِبْرِيَاءِ ، وَالْعَظَمَةِ

How perfect is the Owner of might, dominion, grandeur and greatness.

7. اَللّٰهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِيْ ذَنْبِيْ كُلَّهُ ، دِقَّهُ وَجِلَّهُ ، وَأَوَّلَهُ وَآخِرَهُ ، وَعَلَانِيَتَهُ وَسِرَّهُ

O Allah, forgive for me all of my sins: the minor and major, the first and the last, the public and the private.

8. اَللّٰهُمَّ إِنّيْ أَعُوْذُ بِرِضَاكَ مِنْ سَخَطِكَ ، وَبِمُعَافَاتِكَ مِنْ عُقُوْبَتِكَ ، وَبِكَ مِنْكَ ، لَا أُحْصِيْ ثَنَاءً عَلَيْكَ ، أَنْتَ كَمَا أَثْنَيْتَ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِكَ

O Allah, indeed, I seek protection in Your pleasure from Your anger, and in Your forgiveness from Your punishment, and in You from Your [aforementioned anger and punishment]. I cannot enumerate Your praise. You are as You have praised Yourself.

ʿĀ’ishah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhā) said, “One night, I noticed that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was missing. I found him (in the Masjid), in prostration with his feet upright; he was saying [the above]” (Nasā’ī).

ʿAbdul-Aʿlā al-Taymī (raḥimahullāh) used to say in his sujūd, “My Lord, increase me in my khushūʿ of You, as Your enemies increase in their aversion to You. And do not throw us into the Hell-fire upon our faces after they have prostrated to You.”

The optimum time for duʿā’

Whilst in sujūd, you can make any duʿās you wish to; you are not limited to the above duʿās. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The closest a slave is to his Lord is when he is prostrating, so make plenty of duʿā’” (Muslim). Therefore, you should make as much duʿā’ as you can in your sajdah, especially in your voluntary prayers. It is best to supplicate with the duʿās from the Qur’ān and Sunnah. (For a list of these supplications, along with the translation, see our publication ‘I Am Near’).

Muslim b. Yasār (raḥimahullāh) used to say in his sujūd, “When will I meet You and You are happy with me?”. He would continue making duʿā’, and then say, “When will I meet You and You are happy with me?”

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12: Sitting Between the Two Sajdahs

 

Following the first sajdah, raise your head and sit up straight.

The Prophet ﷺ used to lengthen this posture, to the degree that al-Barā’ (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said, “The standing of (the Prophet ﷺ), his rukūʿ, when he raised his head from rukūʿ, his sujūd and the time between the two sajdahs were almost the same” (Muslim). To lengthen the period between the two sajdahs, memorise and supplicate with the following duʿās of the Prophet ﷺ:

رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِيْ ، رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِيْ

My Lord, forgive me. My Lord, forgive me (Abū Dawūd).

Imagine yourself kneeling, waiting for your name to be called out on the Day of Fear in order to be punished. Then you are given a chance to seek pardon; this is your chance. Before it is too late, you implore Allah: ‘My Lord, forgive me…My Lord, forgive me…My Lord, forgive me.’

The aforementioned duʿā’ need not be limited to two repetitions; rather, it should be repeated as many times as possible.

اَللّٰهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِيْ ، وَارْحَمْنِيْ ، وَعَافِنِيْ ، وَاهْدِنِيْ ، وَارْزُقْنِيْ

O Allah, forgive me, have mercy on me, grant me wellbeing, guide me and grant me sustenance (Abū Dāwūd).

All the benefits of this world and of the hereafter are combined in this duʿā’.

Reflect

I take a trip down memory lane… and I remember my past indiscretions. I feel guilty about my sins; the unlawful glance, the morsel of ḥarām, missing a ṣalāh, attacking the honour of my fellow believer, hurting my spouse, raising my voice to my mother. I recall these sins and I repeatedly plead to my Lord: ‘Forgive me.’

Second Sajdah

You will then go back into sajdah. It is as though one sajdah does not satiate, and you need a second sajdah to satisfy yourself. Sujūd is repeated because it is the most honourable and virtuous element of ṣalāh. It is the most expressive posture of your servitude to the Almighty (ʿazza wa jall) and the closest you are to Him on this earthly realm.

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13: The Final Sitting (Tahiyyat)

 

After the second sajdah, sit up straight. You are now almost at the point of concluding your ṣalāh assuming it is a two rakʿah prayer. Prior to concluding your ṣalāh, you will sit before Allah (ʿazza wa jall), glorifying and praising Him, while also making any final requests.

ʿAbdullāh b. ʿAbbās (radiy Allāhu ʿanhumā) said, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ would teach us the tashahhud like he would teach us a sūrah from the Qur’ān” (Muslim).

Although there are slight variations to the wording of the tashahhud, the following is one of them. Try your best to memorise what it means.

اَلتَّحِيَّاتُ لِلّٰهِ، وَالصَّلَوَاتُ وَالطَّيِّبَاتُ، اَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ وَرَحْمَةُ اللّٰهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ ، اَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَىٰ عِبَادِ اللّٰهِ الصَّالِحِيْنَ، أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَّا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا اللّٰهُ ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُوْلُهُ

All royal greetings belong to Allah, as do prayers and good (deeds and words). May peace, the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you O Prophet. Peace be upon us and upon the righteous servants of Allah. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger (Bukhārī).

اَلتَّحِيَّاتُ لِلّٰهِ، وَالصَّلَوَاتُ وَالطَّيِّبَاتُ

اَلتَّحِيَّاتُ [All royal greetings]: In different cultures, royalty are shown respect in different ways. Some stand upon their arrival and wait for them to be seated before they themselves sit down. Others bow and curtsy. Royalty are also addressed with specific terms of honour (‘Your Honour/Majesty, Your Royal Highness’, etc.) and protocols usually dictate what can and cannot be uttered when greeting them.

Taḥiyyāt is plural of the word taḥiyyah, and is derived from the word ‘ḥayāt’, meaning life in Arabic. It is a form of greeting similar to ‘Long live the King/ Queen…’ For Allah (ʿazza wa jall), it means that everlasting kingship, ownership and sovereignty belong only to Him as He Alone is the Ever-Living, the only One who will never die. Thus, He (ʿazza wa jall) is most worthy of all praises and greetings. This is why we say the plural form at-Taḥiyyātu (all royal greetings) and not at-Taḥiyyatu (the singular form) to Allah.

وَالصَّلَوَاتُ [All prayers]: All of the ṣalāh we pray and the supplications we make are only directed to Allah.

وَالطَّيِّبَاتُ [All good]: Ṭayyibāt refers to pure attributes, actions and words. Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is Pure and only accepts the ‘pure’. All of His Actions and Attributes are Pure. He is the Lord of the pure ones, and it is only the pure ones who will be granted closeness to Him in the Abode of eternal honour (Paradise). Only pure actions and words, which are carried out solely for His sake, ascend to Him.

An Alternative Meaning to the Tashahhud:

TAḤIYYĀT – All verbal forms of worship

ṢALAWĀT – All physical forms of worship

ṬAYYIBĀT – All monetary forms of worship

اَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ وَرَحْمَةُ اللّٰهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ

Along with the right Allah (ʿazza wa jall), the Creator, has over you, His creation also has a right over you. They have a right to share a portion of your ṣalāh. Accordingly, you should begin with praying for the best of creation, Muḥammad ﷺ, and then follow this by praying for the righteous servants of Allah.

اَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ [May peace be upon you O Prophet]: al-Salām is one of the Perfect Names of Allah (ʿazza wa jall). By stating ‘peace be upon you’, you are seeking the protection of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) for the person you are greeting. You are asking Allah (ʿazza wa jall) to take care of him and to keep him safe from all harm and evil.

What you are saying is, “O Allah, protect Muḥammad ﷺ in his daʿwah and protect his ummah from every type of deficiency, so that his message reigns supreme, and the glory and honour of his ummah increase.”

رَحْمَةُ اللّٰهِ [The mercy of Allah]: You are asking Allah (ʿazza wa jall) to give Muḥammad ﷺ every possible good, and to reward him for everything he did for us.

In offering our salām to Muḥammad ﷺ we are also benefitting, as he responds to our greetings. Allah (ʿazza wa jall) has greatly privileged us by making us the beneficiaries of the duʿā’ of the greatest man to have walked on this earth. He ﷺ said, “There is no one who sends salām upon me, except that Allah returns my soul to me so that I may respond to his salām” (Abū Dāwūd).

وَبَرَكَاتُهُ [His blessings]: Barakāt is the plural of barakah which linguistically means growth and increase. You are asking Allah (ʿazza wa jall) to bless the Prophet ﷺ and to bless him ﷺ in his followers by: (1) increasing their numbers and (2) by occupying them in worship as he will share in their reward.

اَلسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَىٰ عِبَادِ اللّٰهِ الصَّالِحِيْنَ

After this, you send greetings upon yourself and upon the chosen righteous servants of Allah (ʿazza wa jall), in accordance with the command of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) to His beloved ﷺ, “Say, all praise is for Allah, and may peace be upon His servants whom He has chosen” (27:59).

The caveat here of the ‘righteous’ shows you the importance of trying your best to be from them and to always keep their company.

The Prophet ﷺ said that when one utters the above, the supplication “reaches every worshipper in the sky and the earth” (Bukhārī).

أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَّا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا اللّٰهُ ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُوْلُهُ

Then attest to the Oneness of Allah (ʿazza wa jall). Through this phrase you affirm that He is the only One worthy of being worshipped, loved and obeyed. Everything and anything other than Him (ʿazza wa jall) that is worshipped is falsehood.

أَشْهَدُ [I testify]: Ash-hadu means ‘I testify’. You ‘testify’ to something being true when you are certain of its authenticity. Accordingly, this word is befitting here as you are certain that Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is the only One worthy of being worshipped and Muḥammad ﷺ is the slave and Messenger of Allah.

When uttering these words, re-affirm these words by simultaneously raising your index finger to indicate the Oneness of Allah (ʿazza wa jall). When doing so, you must also strive to feel the impact of these words, feeling that you are strangling Shayṭān with this action. When ʿAbdullāh b. ʿUmar (radiy Allāhu ʿanhumā) would sit down in ṣalāh, he would place his hands on his knees and point with his finger and keep his eye focused on it. He said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said that the finger is “harder on Shayṭān than iron” (Aḥmad).

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14: The Final Sitting (Salawat & Dua)

 

Salawat Upon The Prophet ﷺ

Next, after greeting and paying respect to the Lord of the worlds, you now move on to paying your respect to the best of creation ﷺ.

You are continuing your assault on Shayṭān by stating the name of the person who irks him the most: his chief enemy, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.

After sending ṣalāh, you will go on to making duʿā’. The adab (propriety) of duʿā’ is that you first praise Allah (ʿazza wa jall), and then send ṣalawāt upon His beloved ﷺ, before asking Allah (ʿazza wa jall) for your own needs. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “When one of you makes duʿā’, he should start with praising Allah and glorifying his Lord, and should then invoke ṣalāh on the Prophet ﷺ. He should then make duʿā’ for whatever he wishes” (Abū Dāwūd). Hence, the ṣalawāt follow the tashahhud which includes the praises of Allah.

Take time out to ponder on the meaning of this beautiful Prophetic utterance, often referred to as al-ṣalāh al-ibrāhīmiyyah:

اَللّٰهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَىٰ مُحَمَّدٍ وَّعَلَىٰ اٰلِ مُحَمَّدٍ ، كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيْمَ وَعَلَىٰ اٰلِ إِبْرَاهِيْمَ ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيْدٌ مَّجِيْدٌ ، اَللّٰهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَىٰ مُحَمَّدٍ وَّعَلَىٰ اٰلِ مُحَمَّدٍ ، كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيْمَ وَعَلَىٰ اٰلِ إِبْرَاهِيْمَ ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيْدٌ مَّجِيْدٌ

O Allah, honour and have mercy upon Muḥammad and the family of Muḥammad as You have honoured and had mercy upon Ibrāhīm and the family of Ibrāhīm: indeed, You are the Most Praiseworthy, the Most Glorious. O Allah, bless Muḥammad and the family of Muḥammad as You have blessed Ibrāhīm and the family of Ibrāhīm: indeed, You are the Most Praiseworthy, the Most Glorious (Bukhārī).

اَللّٰهُمَّ صَلِّ [O Allah, honour and have mercy]: O Allah, have mercy upon Muḥammad and praise him in the lofty assembly. The ‘lofty assembly’ refers to the elite angels who are close to Allah (ʿazza wa jall).

Ṣalāh also means ‘honour him’ i.e. honour him in this world by elevating his mention, granting victory to his dīn and preserving his sharīʿah; honour him in the hereafter by rewarding him abundantly, accepting his intercession on behalf of his ummah and granting him the loftiest station of glory (maqām maḥmūd).

وَعَلَىٰ اٰلِ مُحَمَّدٍ [And upon the family of Muḥammad ﷺ]: This phrase could be a reference to: 1) His family 2) His followers. By invoking ṣalāh on his followers, you are honouring the Messenger ﷺ by honouring those who are dear to him.

بَارِكْ [Bless]: Bārik is derived from barakah, and linguistically has two meanings: (1) to be firm and continuous and (2) to grow and increase. Thus, it is similar to stating, “O Allah continue to bless and honour Muḥammad ﷺ and his followers. Increase him and his followers in every form of good. Bless him in the mission that he came with and make his legacy universal.”

حَمِيْدٌ [The Most Praiseworthy]: Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is worthy of all praise in His Essence, His Attributes and His Actions. He also praises His praiseworthy slaves. One of His greatest blessings is that He allowed His creation to praise Him.

مَجِيْدٌ [The Most Glorious]: His glory and greatness know no ends. He is the Most Generous and bestows endless favours. He is Noble and Exalted. The glory of Allah (ʿazza wa jall) refers to His beautiful actions combined with nobility.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Allah has angels who travel around the earth conveying to me the salām of my ummah.” (Nasā’ī).

Why do the ṣalawāt end with these two specific names?

In asking Allah (ʿazza wa jall) to bestow ‘ṣalawāt’ on His beloved ﷺ, you ask Him to praise him, honour him, and elevate his mention. Thus, it is befitting that you ask ‘alḤamīd’ (The Most Praiseworthy) and ‘al-Majīd’ (The Most Glorious) – the real and ultimate source of praise and glory – to increase the Messenger ﷺ in praise and glory.

Why do we send ṣalawāt upon the Messenger ﷺ ?

Along with complying with Allah’s command, sending ṣalawāt on the Messenger ﷺ is a manifestation of our love, reverence and obedience to him. He was sent as a mercy for mankind, and he always remembered us and worried about us.

On one occasion he lifted his hands and while weeping, invoked, “O Allah! My ummah, my ummah!” Allah sent Jibrīl down with the glad tidings, “Muḥammad, surely we will please you in regards to your ummah and we will not cause you grief ” (Muslim).

In every ṣalāh, he would ask Allah (ʿazza wa jall) to forgive us (Ibn Ḥibbān). He missed us and yearned to see us. He once said, “I wish to see my brothers!” The Companions (radiy Allāhu ʿanhum) asked, “O Messenger of Allah, are we not your brothers?” He replied, “You are my Companions, but my brothers are those who have not yet come in the world. I will welcome them at the Ḥawḍ (blessed fountain)” (Nasā’ī).

Unlike the other Messengers who had their exclusive duʿā’ accepted in this world, the Messenger ﷺ reserved his duʿā’ for the Day of Judgement where he will intercede on our behalf (Bukhārī).

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Whoever sends ṣalāh upon me once, Allah will send ṣalāh upon him tenfold, erase ten sins from him, and will raise him ten degrees in status.” (Nasā’ī).

Duʿa’

Before the end of the ṣalāh, Allah (ʿazza wa jall) gives us another opportunity to make duʿā’. This is one of the best times for duʿā’ and is likely to be accepted. The Prophet ﷺ was asked, “Which duʿā’ is most likely to be responded to?” He replied, “During the last part of the night and at the end of the obligatory prayers” (Tirmidhī).

Thus, even if you have forgotten to make duʿā’ in your sajdah, you can ask now. Through His mercy, Allah (ʿazza wa jall) has blessed you with two opportunities during ṣalāh to make duʿā’.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said that after the tashahhud, “He should choose any supplication which he likes, and then ask Allah with it” (Abū Dāwūd).

During your duʿā’, it is best to utter any of the following adhkār, or to utter any other duʿās from the Qur’ān and Sunnah; you may also ask with words similar to them. Imām al-Ghazālī (raḥimahullāh) said, “At the end of your ṣalāh, supplicate with the duʿās transmitted from the Prophet ﷺ with humility, fear, earnest pleading and the conviction that it will be answered. Also include your parents and the believers in your duʿā’.” (See our publication ‘I Am Near’ for a collection of duʿās.)

Whoever performs the five daily prayers, has thanked Allah; and whoever supplicates for his parents at the end of the five daily prayers, has thanked his parents.” – Sufyān b. ʿUyaynah (raḥimahullāh)

Try to memorise and supplicate (especially in your nafl prayers) with the following adhkār of the Prophet ﷺ:

اَللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّيْ ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِيْ ظُلْمًا كَثِيْرًا ، وَّلَا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوْبَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ ، فَاغْفِرْ لِيْ مَغْفِرَةً مِّنْ عِنْدِكَ ، وَارْحَمْنِيْ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْغَفُوْرُ الرَّحِيْمُ

O Allah, I have wronged myself greatly and no one forgives sins except You; grant me forgiveness from You and have mercy upon me. You are the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful (Bukhārī).

In this duʿā’, you are acknowledging that only He (ʿazza wa jall) can forgive. You are simultaneously humbling yourself, admitting your shortcomings and asking Him (ʿazza wa jall) through His Blessed Names.

اَللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ جَهَنَّمَ ، وَمِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ ، وَمِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَحْيَا وَالْمَمَاتِ، وَمِنْ شَرِّ فِتْنَةِ الْمَسِيْحِ الدَّجَّالِ

O Allah, I seek Your protection from the punishment of the fire, from the punishment of the grave, from the trials of life and death, and from the evil of the trial of al-Masīḥ al-Dajjāl (Muslim).

اَللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ ، وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَسِيْحِ الدَّجَّالِ ، وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَحْيَا وَفِتْنَةِ الْمَمَاتِ ، اَللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْمَأْثَمِ وَالْمَغْرَمِ

O Allah, I seek Your protection from the punishment of the grave, and I seek Your protection from the trial of the al-Masīḥ al-Dajjāl, and I seek Your protection from the trials of life and death. O Allah, I seek Your protection from sin and debt (Bukhārī).

اَللّٰهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِيْ مَا قَدَّمْتُ وَمَا أَخَّرْتُ ، وَمَا أَسْرَرْتُ وَمَا أعْلَنْتُ ، وَمَا أَسْرَفْتُ وَمَا أَنْتَ أَعْلَمُ بِهِ مِنِّيْ ، أَنْتَ الْمُقَدِّمُ ، وَأَنْتَ الْمُؤَخِّرُ ، لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ

O Allah, forgive me for what I have done in the past and for what I am yet to do, for what I have done privately and for what I have done publicly, for my excesses and for that which You know more than me. You are the One who brings forward and the One who puts behind, and there is no god worthy of worship except You (Muslim).

اَللّٰهُمَّ أَعِنِّيْ عَلَىٰ ذِكْرِكَ ، وَشُكْرِكَ ، وَحُسْنِ عِبَادَتِكَ

O Allah, help me to remember You, be grateful to You and worship You in an excellent manner (Abū Dāwūd).

اَللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْبُخْلِ، وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْجُبْنِ ، وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ أَنْ أُرَدَّ إِلَىٰ أَرْذَلِ الْعُمُرِ ، وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الدُّنْيَا وَعَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ

O Allah, I seek Your protection from miserliness, I seek Your protection from cowardice and I seek Your protection from being sent back to a miserable old age. I seek Your protection from the trials of the world and the punishment of the grave (Nasā’ī).

اَللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أَسْألُكَ الْجَنَّةَ ، وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنَ النَّارِ

O Allah, I beg You for Paradise and I seek Your protection from Hell-fire (Abū Dawūd).

اَللّٰهُمَّ بِعِلْمِكَ الْغَيْبَ ، وَقُدْرَتِكَ عَلَى الْخَلْقِ ، أَحْيِـنِـيْ مَا عَلِمْتَ الْحَـيَاةَ خَيْرًا لِّيْ ، وَتَوَفَّنِيْ إِذَا عَلِمْتَ الْوَفَاةَ خَيْرًا لِّيْ ، اَللّٰهُمَّ وَأَسْأَلُكَ خَشْيَتَكَ فِي الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ كَلِمَةَ الْحَقِّ فِي الرِّضَا وَالْغَضَبِ ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ الْقَصْدَ فِي الْفَقْرِ وَالْغِنَىٰ ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ نَعِيْمًا لَّا يَنْفَدُ ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ قُرَّةَ عَيْنٍ لَّا تَنْقَطِعُ ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ الرِّضَا بَعْدَ الْقَضَاءِ ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ بَرْدَ الْعَيْشِ بَعْدَ الْمَوْتِ ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ لَذَّةَ النَّظَرِ إِلَىٰ وَجْهِكَ ، وَالشَّوْقَ إِلَىٰ لِقَائِكَ ، فِيْ غَيْرِ ضَرَّاءَ مُضِرَّةٍ ، وَلَا فِتْنَةٍ مُّضِلَّةٍ ، اَللّٰهُمَّ زَيِّنَّا بِزِيْنَةِ الْإِيْمَانِ ، وَاجْعَلْنَا هُدَاةً مُّهْتَدِيْنَ

O Allah, with Your knowledge of the unseen and Your absolute power over the creation, let me live in this world as long as You know my living is good for me; and give me death when You know death is better for me. O Allah, I ask You for Your fear in secret and in public. I ask You for the word of truth in times of joy and anger. I ask You for moderation in poverty and wealth. I ask You for endless blessings and perpetual delights. I ask You to make me pleased with destiny; a cool, comfortable life after death; the pleasure of gazing at Your face, and the longing to meet You, without any painful ordeals and tribulations that misguide. O Allah, adorn us with the beauty of faith, and make us those who guide others and are guided themselves (Nasā’ī).

اَللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أَسْأَلُكَ بِأَنَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدَ لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ الْمَنَّانُ ، بَدِيْعُ السَّمٰـوٰتِ وَالْأَرْضِ، يَا ذَا الْجَلاَلِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ ، يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّوْمُ

O Allah, I beg You as all praise only belongs to You. There is no god worthy of worship except You, the Giver of all good, the Originator of the heavens and the earth. O Lord of Majesty and Honour, O the Ever Living, O the One who sustains and protects all that exists.

Anas (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) narrated that he was sitting with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ whilst a man was praying. The man went on to supplicate [with the above]. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “He has certainly invoked Allah by His Greatest Name. When He is supplicated by it, He responds; and when asked by it, He gives” (Abū Dāwūd).

اَللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أَسْأَلُكَ بِأَنِّيْ أَشْهَدُ أَنَّكَ أَنْتَ اللّٰهُ لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ ، الْأَحَدُ الصَّمَدُ الَّذِيْ لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُوْلَدْ ، وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ

O Allah, I ask You as I bear witness that You are Allah, there is no god worthy of worship except You, the One, the Self-Sufficient Master, the One who has not given birth and was not born, and to whom no one is equal.

Buraydah al-Aslamī (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ heard a man supplicating [with the above]. He ﷺ remarked, By the One in whose Hand is my life, he has certainly asked Allah with His Greatest Name: when He is supplicated by it, He responds; and when asked by it, He gives” (Tirmidhī).

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15: Salam: The End of An Epic Journey

 

Now that you have made duʿā’, turn to your right and left side, saying,

.اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللّٰهِ ، اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللّٰهِ

May the peace and mercy of Allah be upon you.

When performing your salām, your intention should be to convey greetings to the angels and your fellow congregants (when praying in congregation).

Be grateful to Allah (ʿazza wa jall) who has allowed you to undertake this amazing journey. Thank Him for allowing you to be from those who remember Him (ʿazza wa jall) and are not drowning in heedlessness.

Always consider the ṣalāh you are praying as potentially the last one. Feel a sense of shyness and grief about the shortcomings in your ṣalāh. Fear Allah (ʿazza wa jall) not accepting it, even though you may have done your best. It may be that a single sin acts as a barrier between you and your ṣalāh being accepted, so seek Allah’s forgiveness by saying أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللّٰهَ three times. Then spend some time seated in your place of prayer and recite the adhkār after ṣalāh.

Feel sad on completing your ṣalāh, for it is the end of a special journey – a journey in which you were conversing with The Most Loving. Similarly, be careful of becoming conceited (ʿujb) about your khushūʿ and devotion in your ṣalāh.

When Yaḥyā b. Waththāb (raḥimahullāh) completed his ṣalāh, he would remain in his place for some time afterward, and the worry of ṣalāh would be apparent on him. Ibrāhīm al-Nakhaʿī (raḥimahullāh) would also remain in his place for some time after the prayer, as if he was ill.

Reflect

Now that you have prayed, consider how the angels are at that moment ascending to Allah (ʿazza wa jall) with your ṣalāh. Think of them as being your envoys presenting your special gift in the court of the king. What kind of gift will you present? Have you sent the least important thing to you? Or have you given the matter careful thought and been diligent in preparation of the gift, and sent the best of what you have to offer?

When Ḥātim al-Aṣamm (raḥimahullāh) was asked about his ṣalāh, he said, “When the time for ṣalāh comes close, I perform wuḍu thoroughly, go to the spot where I intend to pray, and sit there until all my limbs are in a collected state. Then I stand up to perform my prayer, placing the Kaʿbah in front of my eyes, the ṣirāṭ (bridge over Hellfire) beneath my feet, Paradise to my right and Hell-fire to my left, and the Angel of Death behind me, thinking all the while that this is my last prayer. Then I stand between hope and fear. I carefully pronounce ‘Allāhu Akbar’. Then I recite the Qur’ān carefully in a measured pace, bow in humility, and prostrate submissively. I then present it with sincerity to Allah . Then I wonder whether or not my prayer has been accepted.”

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