Maliki Fiqh QA

Islamic Questions & Answers according to the Maliki School

Times of the Prayer – Shaykh Muhammad al-‘Arabi al-Qarawi

Fiqh Summary of the School of the Maliki Masters

(Muhammad al-‘Arabi al-Qarawi)

The Prayer

136. What, essentially, is the prayer? Which prayers are obligatory upon the individual and which prayers are obligatory in a kifaya sense*?

The prayer is an act of drawing near to Allah. It either consists of only an ihram and salam (the funeral prayer), or a prostration (the prostration for recitation) or all three (all the remaining prayers). There are five prayers which are individual obligations, namely, Dhuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib, ‘Isha’, and Subh. There is only one prayer which is a kifaya obligation and that is the funeral prayer.

*[What is meant by a kifaya obligation is an act which is obligatory on the community as a whole. As soon as the act is undertaken by some members of the community, it ceases to be an obligation on the other members of the community].

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Times of the Prayer

137. How many times are there for each prayer?

Each obligatory prayer has two times:

Its Ikhtiyari time: This is the time in which everyone must perform the prayer (unless he has a valid excuse for delaying his prayer beyond this time). A person is permitted to pray whenever he wishes within this time – he is free to pray at the beginning of the ihktiyari time or to delay his prayer to the end of the ikhtiyari time, and incurs no sin in doing so.

Its Daruri time: It is not permitted for a person to delay his prayer to this time unless he has a valid excuse. If he has no excuse, then he incurs a sin by delaying his prayer to this time. Unlike the ikhtiyari time, a person cannot choose which part of the daruri time he prays in – he must perform his prayer as soon the excuse preventing him from praying has gone (If, for example, his excuse was sleep, he must pray as soon as he wakes up and purifies himself).

138. What is the ikhtiyari time for each prayer?

Dhuhr: The ikhtiyari time of Dhuhr starts at the moment that the sun begins to decline from its zenith (in other words, as soon as the shadows begin to lengthen after midday), and finishes when the length of a person’s shadow has increased (from the length that it had at midday) by a length equal to his height. A person’s height is generally reckoned to be seven of his foot-lengths or four of his cubits (the length of his upper arm, from his elbow to the tips of his fingers). So, for example, if the length of a person’s shadow was three of his foot-lengths at midday, then the end of the ikhtiyari time of Dhuhr would be when the length of his shadow reached ten foot-lengths (three at midday plus seven for his height).

[NOTE: The length of shadow at midday varies according to the time of year and the distance a person is from the Equator. In the northern hemisphere, it tends to be longer in the winter months (such as December) and in the southern hemisphere, it tends to be longer in the summer months (such as June). Additionally, the further one gets from the Equator, the longer the shadows tend to be.]

‘Asr: The ikhtiyari time of ‘Asr is from the time that a person’s shadow is the same length as his height (plus the midday shadow) until the yellowing of the sun (this is the time when the rays of the sun paint the walls and ground of the Earth in a yellowy colour. This normally occurs between 40 minutes to an hour before sunset).

[NOTE: The ikhtiyari times of Dhuhr and ÔAsr coincide for the length of time it takes to pray four rak’ats. However, there is a difference of opinion as to whether their times coincide at the end of the time of Dhuhr (immediately before the adhan of ‘Asr), or at the beginning of the time of ‘Asr (immediately after the adhan of ‘Asr). Therefore, according to the first position, if a person were to pray his ‘Asr prayer at the end of the time of Dhuhr, his prayer would be valid, and according to the second position, it would not be valid as he prayed it before its time.]

Maghrib: The ikhtiyari time of Maghrib begins when the entire orb of the sun disappears from the sky and goes below the horizon (i.e. sunset) and extends for the length of time that it takes for a person to satisfy the preconditions of the prayer (such as cleaning oneself from filth, purifying oneself from ritual impurity and covering one’s ‘awra*). According to the mashhur position, there is no extension for the ikhtiyari time of Maghrib. However, it is permitted for the person who has already satisfied the preconditions of the prayer (i.e. he has already cleaned any filth off his body and clothes, obtained a state of ritual purity and covered his ‘awra) to delay Maghrib for the amount of time that it would normally take him to satisfy its preconditions (such as a delay of fifteen to twenty minutes or so, because it is the time it takes to perform a ghusl that is taken into account).

[*‘Awra normally refers to the part of the body that must be covered in the prayer, but, in this instance, includes those parts of the body that it is only recommended to cover for the prayer.]

‘Isha’: The ikhtiyari time of ‘Isha’ begins from the moment that the red twilight disappears from the sky and extends until the end of the first third of the night.

[NOTE: The night begins with Maghrib and ends with Subh. So, for example, if Maghrib was at 8.00 PM and Subh was at 5.00 AM, then the night would be nine hours long and a third of that would be three hours. Therefore, in this instance, the end of the ikhtiyari time of ‘Isha would be at 11.00 PM]. Unlike the position taken by the Hanafis, it is not necessary to wait until the white twilight has disappeared in order to pray ‘Isha’. ]

Subh: The ikhtiyari time of Subh begins at the moment when true dawn* breaks and extends until the time of isfar, which is the time in which a person can no longer see the stars and in which there is enough light for him to distinguish the faces of other people nearby (when is standing outside or in a place without a roof). It is also said that the ikhtiyari time of Subh extends right up until sunrise. Those who take this position consider Subh to have no daruri time.

[* As opposed to the false dawn, which occurs before the true dawn, especially in the winter months. The difference is that the false dawn is when a strip of light appears in the middle of the sky surrounded on all sides by darkness, remains for a few minutes and then disappears again. As for the true dawn, that is when light appears at the edge of the horizon and gradually spreads out until it encompasses the whole sky.]

139. What is the daruri time for each prayer?

Dhuhr: The daruri time of Dhuhr extends from the time that a person’s shadow is the same length as his height (plus the midday shadow) until sunset.

‘Asr: The daruri time of ‘Asr extends from the time that the sun first starts to cast a yellow light on the walls and ground until sunset.*

[* NOTE: Dhuhr and ‘Asr share a daruri time – the time from when the sun first starts to cast a yellow light over the ground until sunset.]

Maghrib: The daruri time of Maghrib starts as soon as its ikhtiyari time finishes and lasts until the true dawn (i.e. the time of Subh). In other words, the daruri time of Maghrib begins as soon as the time required for a person to fulfil the preconditions of the prayer (and pray it) has passed.

‘Isha’: The daruri time of ‘Isha’ lasts from the beginning of the second third of the night until the true dawn.*

[* NOTE: Maghrib and ‘Isha’ share a daruri time – the time from the start of the second third of the night until the true dawn (i.e. the start of the time of Subh).]

Subh: The daruri time of Subh is from the time of isfar until sunrise (according to the view that Subh has a daruri time).

140. What does a person do when circumstances prevent him from being able to accurately determine the time of the prayer?

If circumstances make it impossible for a person to accurately determine the time of the prayer using the signs mentioned above Ð such as when the sun is obscured by clouds, or when it is dark and overcast, or when there are mountains between him and the setting sun Ð then he must try to use other methods in order to establish the time. It is not enough for him to merely guess at the time Ð he must be fairly confident that the time of the prayer has arrived before embarking on the prayer. A possible method for determining the time could be, for example, the descent of darkness, in the case of the person whose view of the setting sun is obscured by mountains; or the finishing of his wird in the case of the person whose norm it is to always finish his wird (consisting of dhikr, Quran or voluntary prayers) at the moment that Fajr comes in.

141. Is it enough for a person merely to think it highly likely that the time of the prayer has come in? What is the ruling if it turns out that his estimation of the time was wrong?

If a person thinks it highly probable that the time for a prayer has come in and prays based on that estimation, then his prayer is valid in two out of three cases. The two instances in which his prayer is valid are the instance in which he discovers that his estimation was correct, and the instance in which the rightness or wrongness of his estimation remains unknown. As for the instance in which it turns out that his estimation was wrong, his prayer is not valid and he must make it up.

If there remains an element of doubt in the person’s mind as to whether the time of the prayer has entered, then he is not permitted to pray and has to make up any prayer he prays in that state, even if it turns out that his estimation of the time of the prayer was correct.

These rulings are for when conditions make it very difficult for a person to accurately determine the time of the prayer – such as when it is dark and overcast. If the sky is clear and conditions permit a person to see whether the time has come in or not, then he is not permitted to pray based upon an estimation of the time, even if he thinks it highly likely that his estimation is correct – he must be one hundred percent certain that the time has come in.

142. When is the best time in which to pray each prayer?.

As a general rule, the best time to pray is at the beginning of the ikhtiyari time. This is regardless of whether the person is praying on his own or in a group, and regardless of whether it is Dhuhr that is being prayed or any other prayer. There are, however, two sets of circumstances under which it is recommended to delay Dhuhr from the start of its ikhtiyari time to a slighter later time:

1. In the case of the one who expects a group of people will arrive if he delays the prayer Ð or expects to be able to pray in a larger group Ð it is recommended for him to delay his Dhuhr prayer until his shadow is a quarter the length of his height (plus the midday shadow).

2. When it is extremely hot. It is recommended to delay Dhuhr to a time in which the heat has abated somewhat (when there is a greater amount of shade). This is generally taken to be when a person’s shadow has lengthened to half the length of his height (plus the midday shadow), although some say that it is recommended to delay the prayer to even later.

143. Is it permitted for someone praying alone to delay the prayer?

It is permitted, and indeed recommended, for a person who would otherwise pray alone, to delay his prayer in order to pray in a group and so obtain the extra reward*, if he expects or has high hopes that more people will come if he waits. It is also said that he should pray the prayer at the beginning of its time, even if he is on his own, and then repeat the prayer in a group in order to gain the extra reward. This is when the prayer is one that is permitted be repeated. As for Maghrib, he must pray it immediately because its time is very short, and he is not permitted to repeat it.

*A person receives 27 times more reward for praying in a group than he does for praying individually.

144. How much of the prayer must a person perform in order to catch that prayer within its time?

If a person prays a complete rak’at of a prayer with both of its prostrations* within that prayer’s time, then he has caught that prayer in its time, even if the other rak’ats of that prayer fall outside the time. This ruling applies to both the ikhtiyari time and the daruri time. So, for example, if a person were to complete a single rak’at of Dhuhr, with its two prostrations, before the adhan of ‘Asr and the rest of the prayer after the adhan, then he would have caught the prayer in its ikhtiyari time, even though the majority of the prayer was performed outside it (based on the position that the shared ikhtiyari time between Dhuhr and ‘Asr is at the end of the time of Dhuhr, not the beginning of the time of ‘Asr). Similarly, if a person were to complete a single rak’at of ‘Asr, with its two prostrations, before the adhan of Maghrib, and then complete the rest of the prayer after the adhan, he would have caught the prayer in its daruri time.

A person incurs no sin, even if he has no excuse, for delaying his prayer until there is only enough time for him to pray a single rak’at of that prayer in the ikhtiyari time. If he delays his prayer until there is only enough time left for him to pray a single rakÔat of that prayer in the daruri time, then he DOES incur a sin. However, he is still considered to be performing that prayer and not making it up, even though a large part of the prayer is performed outside the time.

[*NOTE: It is obligatory, when the remaining time is very short, that the person performing the prayer only recites the Fatiha in the first rak’at and does not recite the sura in order to give himself a better chance of completing that rak’at within the time. He must not rush so much that he does not achieve stillness in each position. It is also obligatory on him to omit the iqama.]

145. What are the excuses with which a person may delay his prayer to the daruri time without sinning?

There are ten excuses for delaying the prayer until the daruri time:

1. Unbelief. When an unbeliever becomes a Muslim during the daruri time, he incurs no sin by performing his prayer within that time.

2. Childhood. When a child reaches puberty during the daruri time, he incurs no sin by performing his prayer within that time.

[NOTE: Even if the child had already prayed the prayer during the ikhtiyari time before reaching puberty, it would be obligatory for him to pray it again if he reached puberty before that prayer’s (daruri) time had ended. This is due to the fact that the prayer is not obligatory on a child, so his performance of an obligatory prayer is like his praying a voluntary prayer and this does not meet the obligation.]

3. Insanity. When a person recovers from a bout of insanity during the daruri time, he incurs no sin by performing his prayer within that time.

4. Unconsciousness. When a person regains consciousness or wakes up from a coma during the daruri time, he incurs no sin by performing his prayer within that time.

5. Intoxication by something lawful. When a person regains his senses during the daruri time after a bout of drunkenness brought about by drinking (or eating) something permitted to him – such as milk which had become alcoholised without his knowing – then he incurs no sin by performing his prayer within that time. If he had become intoxicated by drinking (or eating) something forbidden to him – such as wine – then he DOES incur a sin by delaying his prayer to the daruri time.

6. Menstruation. When a woman’s menstrual period finishes during the daruri time, she incurs no sin by performing her prayer within that time.

7. Lochia. When a woman’s period of post-natal bleeding finishes during the daruri time, she incurs no sin by performing her prayer within that time.

8. A lack of that with which one may ritually purify oneself (i.e. pure water or pure earth). If a person does not find a sufficient quantity of pure water with which to perform wudu’ or the pure earth necessary for the performance of tayammum until after the daruri time has come in, then he incurs no sin by performing his prayer within that time.

9. Sleep. If a person wakes up in the daruri time, having slept through the ikhtiyari time, he incurs no sin by performing his prayer within that time. It is permitted for a person to go to sleep before the time of the prayer has come in, even if he knows that it is very unlikely that he will wake up during that prayer’s time. After the prayer’s time has come in, however, it is forbidden for him to go to sleep before praying that prayer, if he thinks that it is a possibility that he will not wake up until the end of the daruri time.

10. Forgetfulness. If a person forgets to pray and then remembers during the daruri time, then he incurs no sin by performing his prayer within that time.

146. What is the ruling when the excuse preventing a person from praying departs and there is only enough time left to perform a single complete rak’at?

If the excuse preventing a person from praying departs before SUNRISE and there is still enough time left for that person to complete a rak’at of that prayer with its two prostrations after satisfying the preconditions of the prayer [by performing ghusl, in the case of the woman whose period of menstrual or post-natal bleeding had come to an end, or by performing wudu in the case of the person recovering from a bout of madness or from unconsciousness. As for the unbeliever who enters Islam at the end of the daruri time, the length of time needed for satisfying the preconditions of the prayer is not taken into account in his case, because he is in control of his state (in that he can become Muslim at any time) while the others are not], then the Subh prayer remains obligatory on him.*

[*NOTE: For the majority of the excuses mentioned in the previous section, if the excuse remains until after the daruri time has passed, then the obligation of that prayer has passed, and the person does not have to make that prayer up. The same is true for all prayers that he missed while in that state. So, for example, if a person were unconscious for two whole days, he would not be obliged to make up those ten prayers as the prayer was not a obligation on him while he was in that state. The exceptions to this are sleep and forgetfulness (excuses 9 and 10) and becoming intoxicated by drinking something forbidden. In these three instances, the obligation of the prayer is not lifted and they must make up that prayer, even if that person slept for a whole week. It is also said that the person who has no purifying agents (excuse 8) should make up his prayer (this is discussed in greater detail in section 116 in the chapter on tayammum)]

In the same way, if the excuse preventing a person from praying departs before SUNSET and there is only enough time left for that person to complete a single rak’at (or two or three or four rak’ats, no more), then only ‘Asr is obligatory on him, as the time of Dhuhr has passed.

Similarly, if the excuse preventing a person from praying departs before Fajr (true dawn) and there is only enough time left for that person to complete a single rak’at (or two or three rak’ats, no more), then only ‘Isha’ is obligatory on him, as the time of Maghrib has passed.*

[*The rule that the Maliki scholars act upon is that “If the time is so short that there is not enough time to pray both prayers, then the later of the two prayers that share the same time (i.e. Maghrib and ‘Isha, and Dhuhr and ‘Asr) takes precedence.” So a person prays ‘Asr or ‘Isha and leaves Dhuhr or Maghrib.]

147. What is the ruling when there is enough time left for a person to perform five rak’ats?

If the excuse preventing a person from praying departs before SUNSET and there is still enough time left for him to perform five rak’ats (after satisfying the preconditions of the prayer), then both Dhuhr and ÔAsr remain obligatory on him. This is because there is enough time remaining for him to pray the four rak’ats of Dhuhr and still catch a single rak’at of ‘Asr.

Similarly, if the excuse preventing a person from praying departs before Fajr and there is still enough time left for him to perform four rakÔats, then both Maghrib and ‘Isha’ remain obligatory in him. This is because there is enough time remaining for him to pray the three rak’ats of Maghrib and still catch a single rak’at of ‘Isha’.

148. What is the ruling on the person who, of his own free will and without a valid excuse, refuses to perform the prayer?

If a person refuses to perform an obligatory prayer, without having a valid excuse, then his case is brought before the qadi or ruler, who repeatedly instructs him to pray, threatens him with execution and (beats him if he thinks that will help). He then has until enough time remains in the daruri time for him to perform a single rak’at* with its two prostrations in which to comply if he only owes a single obligatory prayer (such as when he had prayed Dhuhr, but refused to pray ‘Asr). If he still has both Dhuhr and ‘Asr on his conscience, then he has until enough time remains in the daruri time for him to perform five complete rak’ats in which to comply. If he still refuses to perform the prayer after this time, then he is executed as a Muslim, not as an unbeliever. His head is chopped off with a sword as a hadd punishment.

[*What is meant by “ rak’at” is this instance is a rak’at in which there is no Fatiha, no straightening up (after ruku’ or prostration) and no stillness on each position. This is to give the person who is being ordered to pray as much time as possible in which to comply.]

This ruling is in the case of the person who does not deny the obligatory nature of the prayer. As soon as a person denies that the prayer is obligatory (or even denies that one of its obligatory elements is obligatory), he has become an unbeliever and has left the fold of Islam. He is given three days in which to repent. If he repents, then he returns to the fold of Islam. If he does not repent, then he is executed as an unbeliever and his wealth is confiscated by the treasury of the Muslims as booty. The ruling is the same (i.e. he becomes an unbeliever) for the person who denies the obligatory nature of any of those things that are well-known to be obligatory in the Deen, such as fasting or zakat, or the forbidden nature of anything that is well-known to be forbidden in the Deen, such as fornication and riba.*

[*Some of the scholars make an exception in the case of a person who has recently become Muslim, as he may not know that zakat, for example, is obligatory, or that riba is forbidden.]

Forbidden and Disliked Voluntary Prayer

nafila) prayers? During which times is it forbidden to perform these voluntary prayers?

“Voluntary (nafila) prayers” is the term used to designate all prayers other than the five daily obligatory prayers. The term includes such prayers as the funeral prayer (which is a kifaya obligation), the Witr prayer (which is a strong sunna) and the prayers which a person has made a solemn oath to Allah to pray*. There are seven times in which it is forbidden to pray these voluntary prayers:

1. During sunrise.

2. During sunset.

3. During the Jumu’a khutba. This is because it is obligatory to listen to the khutba and it is impossible for a person to do so while praying (because it is obligatory on him, while praying, to concentrate on his prayer). This prohibition is specific to the Jumu’a khutba and does not apply to the ‘Id khutba.

4. After the imam has come out to give the Jumu’a khutba.

5. When there is only a short time remaining in the ikhtiyari time or daruri time of an obligatory prayer (and the person has still not performed that obligatory prayer).

6. If a person remembers an obligatory prayer that he had missed, then it is forbidden for him to pray any prayer (voluntary or otherwise) until he has made up that missed prayer, for by doing so he is delaying what it is unlawful to delay. It is obligatory for him to pray that obligatory prayer the moment he remembers it, even if he remembers it during sunrise or sunset, or during the khutba.

7. After the iqama has been called for a particular prayer. If the iqama for a prayer is called, then no prayer is allowed except for the prayer for which that iqama was given. This is to protect the imam and safeguard against fitna, for praying a separate prayer is tantamount to attacking the imam and declaring that you have no confidence in him.

[*If a person makes a solemn oath to Allah that he will pray 100 prayers, for example, then it is obligatory on him to pray those prayers.]

150. During which times is it disliked to perform voluntary prayers?

There are two times during which it is disliked to perform voluntary prayers:

1. After the start of the time of Fajr (true dawn). It remains disliked to perform voluntary prayers until sunrise, and after sunrise until the time that the sun seems to the eye to have risen to the height of a spear (i.e. 12 hand-spans) above the horizon (approximately 20 minutes or so after sunrise).

2. After a person has prayed the ‘Asr prayer. It remains disliked to perform voluntary prayers until after Maghrib has been prayed (i.e. in other words, the dislike is not removed by the adhan of Maghrib. Maghrib must be prayed before it becomes permitted to perform voluntary prayers again (without the element of dislike).

151. Which voluntary prayers are exempt from the times of dislike?

There are six voluntary prayers which a person is permitted to pray within these disliked times without any element of dislike, and they are as follows:

1.-2. Shaf’ and Witr. A person may perform these two prayers without dislike after the time of Fajr, regardless of whether it is before or after the time of isfar {NOTE: The ikhtiyari time of Shaf’ and Witr is the entire night after the ‘Isha’ prayer has been prayed. This time (after the true dawn) is their daruri time.). A person should pray them before praying his Subh prayer, even the time of isfar has come in (and even though, by doing so, he is delaying a prayer further in its daruri time). In fact, even if there only remains enough time to pray two rak’ats in the time of Subh, a person should pray his Witr first (as it is only one rak’at) and then pray his Subh prayer (praying one rakÔat inside the time and one rak’at outside the time).*

[*NOTE: In this instance, a person does not pray the Shaf’ prayer and makes up the Fajr prayer after sunrise; after it becomes permissible to pray again.]

3. Fajr. The ruling for Fajr is identical to that mentioned above for Shaf’ and Witr. There is no dislike in a person praying the two rak’ats of Fajr after the start of the time of Fajr, even during the time of isfar. In fact, it is strongly recommended to pray these two rak’ats (raghiba).

4. -5. The prostration for recitation and the funeral prayer. There is no dislike in praying these two prayers during the time of Fajr, or after the time of ‘Asr, except during the time of isfar and during the time of the yellowing of the sun (at the end of the time of ‘Asr).6. A person’s wird. These are the prayers that a person regularly performs, on his own, every night before the time of Fajr comes in (i.e. in the last third of the night). There are four preconditions that remove the element of dislike of a person praying these prayers after the start of the time of Fajr:

1. That he prays them before the time of isfar.

2. That the person’s wird is something that he is in the habit of performing at the end of the night, not something he performs infrequently.

3. That the reason that the person delayed his wird to the time of Fajr was on account of sleep (i.e. he slept through his normal time of getting up).

[NOTE: There are two sub-conditions worth mentioning here: (a) That he did not sleep through his wird on account of laziness (i.e. he woke up, but could not be bothered getting up and then fell asleep again). (b) That he had not stayed up so late at night that he did not go to sleep until shortly before the regular time of his wird (making it very unlikely that he would be able to wake up for it)].

4. That the act of performing his wird does not cause him to miss praying the Subh prayer in a group. If he fears that performing his wird will cause him to miss the group prayer, then it is disliked if he is outside a mosque and forbidden if he is inside a mosque.

152. What is the ruling on the person who begins a (voluntary) prayer during a time in which it is forbidden to pray them?

If a person enters into a voluntary prayer during a time in which it is forbidden for him to pray, it is obligatory for him to break off from that prayer and not complete it, even if he has already completed a rak’at of that prayer. If the time is a disliked time, then it is merely recommended that he break off from his prayer. He is not obliged to make up any prayer that he broke off during these times, regardless of whether he had completed a rak’at or not, and regardless of whether he entered into that prayer deliberately or because of ignorance or forgetfulness.

There is one exception to this and that is in the case of the person who, out of ignorance or forgetfulness, enters into a voluntary prayer while the imam is delivering the khutba. If he entered into that voluntary prayer deliberately, knowing the ruling, then he should break off from that prayer and not complete it.

The Adhan

153. What, in reality, is the adhan? What is the legal ruling regarding the performance of the adhan?

The adhan is a call that consists of a series of set phrases and, is the means by which the arrival of the time of the prayer is announced. It is a strongly-emphasised sunna that the adhan be called in each and every mosque and place of congregation, even if there happens to be another mosque conjoined to it which is also calling the adhan (and even if that mosque is directly above or below it).

154. What preconditions must be satisfied in order for the adhan to be considered a strongly-emphasised sunna?

The adhan is only considered to be a strongly-emphasised sunna if the following five preconditions are satisfied:

1. That it is called in order to establish a congregational/group prayer, regardless of whether that group is travelling or not.

2. That the group that is calling the adhan is doing so with the intention of bringing others to the prayer.

NOTE: For the purpose of this ruling a single person is considered to be a group if, by calling the adhan, he hopes to bring others to perform the prayer with him. Likewise, a self-contained group that is scattered over a largish area, such as a market-place, calls the adhan in order to alert every member of that group to the performance of the prayer.

3. That the prayer for which the adhan is called is an obligatory one, not a voluntary one such as the Eid prayer.

4. That the prayer for which the adhan is called has a “set” time, such as the five daily prayers. Prayers such as the funeral prayer and missed prayers, although obligatory, are not considered to have set times and so no adhan is called for them. In the case of the funeral prayer, its time is not known or defined until a person dies and in the case of missed prayers, their time is only defined when a person remembers them. He must then pray them immediately without delay.

5. That the time in which the adhan is called is the ikhtiyari time, not the daruri time. Included in this ruling is that prayer which is joined to another prayer in its ikhtiyari time, such as when ‘Isha’ is brought forward to the time of Maghrib on a rainy night, or when ‘Asr is joined to Dhuhr during the Hajj at ‘Arafat. In both these instances the adhan is called for both prayers.

155. In what circumstances is the adhan recommended? When is it disliked to perform it and when is it obligatory?

RECOMMENDED ADHAN: It is recommended for a single person or a self-contained group of people (i.e. a group that does not seek, by its adhan, to bring others to the performance of the prayer) to call the adhan for the prayers that they pray while they are travelling.

[NOTE: It is not a condition that the distance that the person travels on his journey reaches the distance at which it is permitted to shorten the prayer. Even if the journey is only a short excursion into the countryside, it is still recommended for him to call the adhan.]

DISLIKED ADHAN: There are six circumstances under which it is disliked for the adhan to be called:

1. When a person is on his own and not on a journey.

2. In the case of a self-contained group which does not seek, by its adhan, to bring others to the performance of the prayer. The students of a Quran madrasa, or the inhabitants of a private home, might fall under this category. (There is an exception to this ruling in the case of a self-contained group whose constituent elements are so scattered that an adhan is required to bring them all together. In such an instance the adhan becomes a sunna).

3. For the performance of a missed prayer (as that prayer must be prayed as soon as it is remembered without delay and the adhan constitutes a further delay).

4. For a prayer which has entered into its daruri time.

5. For a funeral prayer.

6. For voluntary prayers, such as the Eid prayer, the rain prayer and the eclipse prayers.

OBLIGATORY ADHAN: The calling of the adhan is obligatory in a kifaya sense upon the people of a city. In other words, if one group of people in that city calls the adhan then the obligation is lifted from the remainder of its inhabitants. If the people of a city abandon the adhan en masse then they should be fought until the adhan is reinstated, for, by not performing the adhan, they have abandoned one of the greatest and most powerful outward signs that serve to indicate the presence of Islam in that place.

156. What are the phrases that constitute the adhan and in what order are they voiced?

The adhan is composed of a series of set phrases that are voiced in a particular order. The adhan is called in a raised voice and its outward form is as follows:

Allaahu akbar, (Allah is greater.)

Allaahu akbar, (Allah is greater).

Then the mu’adhdhin lowers his voice and says in a low but audible voice:

Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa’llah, (I testify that there is no god but Allah.)

Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa’llah, (I testify that there is no god but Allah.)

Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasulullah. (I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.)

Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasulullah. (I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.)

Then the mu’adhdhin raises his voice once more and says:

Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa’llah, (I testify that there is no god but Allah.)

Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa’llah, (I testify that there is no god but Allah.)

Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasulullah. (I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.)

Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasulullah. (I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.)

Hayya ‘ala’s-salah, (Come to the prayer)

Hayya ‘ala’s-salah, (Come to the prayer)

Hayya ‘ala’l-falah, (Come to the prayer)

Hayya ‘ala’l-falah, (Come to the prayer)

[As-salatu khayrun min’n-nawm], (Prayer is better than sleep)

[As-salatu khayrun min’n-nawm], (Prayer is better than sleep)

(The preceding pair of phrases is only voiced in the adhan for the Subh prayer.)

Allaahu akbar, (Allah is greater).

Allaahu akbar, (Allah is greater).

La ilaha illa’llah. (There is no god but Allah.)

As can be seen above, each phrase in the adhan is voiced twice except for the final phrase. For the purposes of calling the adhan, a person should not vowelise the end of the phrases as is done in the iqama. Therefore a person should say “Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa’llah” and not say “Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa’llahu”; and so on for all the phrases mentioned in the adhan. (The reason for this is to make it easier for the person calling the adhan to elongate the ends of the phrases and thus give the adhan a better chance of being heard).

[NOTE: It is disliked for a mu’adhdhin to overly embellish or sing the adhan.]

157. What is the ruling on gaps that occur between the phrases voiced in the adhan?

It is disliked for a mu’adhdhin to leave a gap between two consecutive phrases or break off from his adhan to do or say something else, even if he is merely returning somebody’s salaam*. If the gap is only a short one and does not impair or interrupt the flow of the adhan, then the adhan remains valid. If the gap is long, however, then he must start the adhan over. [What is meant by a long time here is that length of time whereby a person listening would assume he was no longer calling the adhan.]

*NOTE: If a muslim greets you while you are performing the adhan (or iqama), then you should make no attempt to reply to his salaam while you are in the process of calling the adhan, but should wait until you have finished. Then it is obligatory for you to reply to his greeting, even if he has already left.

158. When is it forbidden to call the adhan?

It is forbidden to call the adhan before the time of a prayer has come in, except in the case of Subh. It is recommended to call the adhan for the Subh prayer at the beginning of the last sixth of the night and then to repeat the adhan when the time of Subh actually starts.

[NOTE: The night begins at sunset, so if Maghrib were at 6:00 pm and the time of Subh came in at 6:00 am, then the last sixth of the night would start at 4:00 am]

159. What are the preconditions that a person must satisfy before it is valid for him to call the adhan? What additional elements are recommended?

A person must fulfil the following four preconditions before it is permitted for him to be a mu’adhdhin:

1. That he is a Muslim: It is not valid for a disbeliever to call the adhan.

2. That he is male: It is not valid for a woman or a hermaphrodite to call the adhan.

3. That he is clinically sane and cogent: It is not valid for a clinically insane person or a very drunk person to call the adhan.

4. That he not call the adhan before the time of the prayer has come in: It is not valid for the adhan to be called for a prayer before its time has come in, except in the case of Subh (as is mentioned above in section 158).

Puberty is not necessarily a precondition as it is valid for a child to call the adhan if he relies on an upright, trustworthy person for finding out the time of that prayer.

Although not obligatory, the following are recommended for the person calling the adhan:

1. That he be in a state of ritual purity: It is strongly disliked for someone in a state of major ritual impurity to call the adhan.

2. That he have a strong, rhythmic and clear voice: It is disliked for the mu’adhdhin to have a rough voice whereby he is unable to clearly pronounce the phrases. It is also disliked for him to overly-embellish or sing the adhan.

3. That he stand in an elevated area, such as on a wall or in a minaret. He should do this to make it easier for people to hear the adhan.

4. That he be standing upright: It is disliked for the adhan to be called by a person when he is sitting, unless he has a valid excuse for doing so, such as an illness. A sitting person should only call the adhan when he is calling it for himself, not for others.

5. That he be facing the qibla: It is best for a person to start his adhan facing the qibla. It is permitted for him to turn and face different directions during his qibla if he does so with the intention of making it easier for the people to hear the call to prayer. The best time for the mu’adhdhin to turn is when he comes to the “Come to…” phrases (Hayya ‘ala’s-salah, Hayya ‘ala’l-falah.)

160. Is it recommended for a person who hears the adhan to repeat the phrases after the mu’adhdhin?

If a person* hears the adhan being called then it is recommended for him to repeat some of the phrases after the mu’adhdhin, even if he is in the midst of a voluntary prayer. He should repeat to himself the initial takbirs and the initial shahadas (which are said by the mu’adhdhin in his lowered voice). If he does not hear the initial shahadas then he should repeat the second rendition of the shahadas (which the mu’adhdhin calls out in his raised voice). As for the phrases that follow, there is a difference of opinion amongst the scholars. The generally-acted upon position today is for the person listening to the adhan to replace the “Come to…” phrases with “La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah” and then to repeat the final takbirs and shahada. He should not repeat the “The prayer is better than sleep” phrases in the Subh prayer or replace them with anything.

[NOTE: If the person calling the adhan is not from the Maliki madhhab and repeats the initial takbirs four times, the person listening should only repeat two of those takbirs to himself.]

*It is also recommended for the person who hears the adhan to make supplication during it, just as it is recommended for both him and the person calling the adhan to say the following prayer on the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, upon the completion of the adhan: “Allahumma rabba hadhihi-d-da’wati-t-tammati wa-s-salati-l-qa’imati aati sayyidana Muhammadan-il-wasilata wa-l-fadilata wa-d-darajata-r-rafi’ata wa-b’athhu maqamman mahmudan-il-ladhi wa’adtah. Innaka la tukhlifu-l-mi’ad.” This can be roughly translated as, “O Allah, Lord of this perfect call and this convened prayer, give our master Muhammad the wasila (an abode in the Garden), preferred status, elevated rank and praised station (the intercession) that You promised him. Indeed You never break Your promise.”

The Iqama

161. What is the iqama and what are the phrases that constitute it?

The iqama is the set of phrases that attest to the fact that the prayer has been established. In other words the imam or person praying alone has stood up and resolved on performing the prayer. Then and only then is the iqama called as it should be immediately connected with the prayer: The phrases of the iqama are similar to the phrases of the adhan, except most of them are only repeated once. The form of the iqama is as follows:

Allaahu akbaru, (Allah is greater.)

Allaahu akbaru, (Allah is greater).

Ash-hadu an la ilaha illa’llahu, (I testify that there is no god but Allah.)

Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasulullahi. (I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.)

Hayya ‘ala’s-salahi, (Come to the prayer)

Hayya ‘ala’l-falahi, (Come to the prayer)

Qad qamati’s-salatu, (The prayer has been established)

Allaahu akbaru, (Allah is greater.)

Allaahu akbaru, (Allah is greater).

La ilaha illa’llah. (There is no god but Allah.)

It is recommended that the person calling the iqama vocalise the vowels at the end of the phrases and join all the phrases together.

162. What is the legal ruling concerning the performance of the iqama?

The iqama is an individual sunna for an adult male when he is praying an obligatory prayer on his own, or praying with women and children. If he is praying in a group of other adult men, then the iqama becomes a kifaya sunna upon that group. If one of them calls the iqama then it ceases to be incumbent upon the remaining members of that group to call it. In fact, if any one of that group does call the iqama again to himself, he is going against the sunna.

[NOTE: The iqama should be called for missed prayers as well as prayers in their rightful time. It is disliked for a person to call the iqama for voluntary prayers or for the funeral prayer.]

163. What are the recommended elements of the iqama?

It is recommended for the person calling the iqama:

1. That he be the same person who called the adhan.

2. That he be in a state of ritual purity.

3. That he be standing.

4. That he face the qibla.

It is recommended for both women and children to call the iqama when they are praying on their own, and it is recommended for them to do so quietly.

There is no particular recommendation in the Maliki madhhab as to when a person should stand up while the iqama is being called, unlike the Hanafi madhhab which says that he should stand when the person calling the iqama says, “Come to the Prayer.” The person who hears the iqama is free to stand up at the beginning of it, at the end of it or even after its completion.

[NOTE: The imam should not enter the mihrab until the iqama has been completed. He should allow a short gap between the completion of the iqama and the commencement of the prayer in which he can ensure that the rows are straight and that people have enough time to make their short supplications before the prayer.]

The Preconditions of the Prayer

 

164. How many preconditions does the prayer have? What are they?

 

There are twelve preconditions of the prayer . These are divided up into three categories: preconditions of obligation; preconditions of soundness; and preconditions of both soundness and obligation.

 

There is only one precondition of obligation:

 

1. Adulthood: it is not obligatory for a child to perform the prayer. However, both boys and girls should be instructed to perform the prayer when they reach the age of six . If they refuse to perform the prayer after they reach the age of nine, then it is permissible for their guardian to beat them until they comply. This beating should be painful, but should not so severe that it causes physical damage to the child. It is important to note that the Shari’a only permits a guardian to beat a child when he thinks that the beating will have a positive effect upon the child and strengthen him in his prayer.

 

The lack of being forced to abandon the prayer is not a precondition of obligation.

 

There are five preconditions of soundness:

 

2. Islam: the prayer of an unbeliever is not valid, even though it is obligatory upon him to perform it.

 

3. Being in a state of ritual purity: the prayer is not valid if it is performed without ritual purity.

 

4. Being free of impurity.

 

5. Covering the ‘awra (private parts) .

 

6. Facing the qibla.

 

There are six preconditions of both soundness and obligation:

 

7. Having received the message of Islam.

 

8. Sanity.

 

9. The arrival of the time of the prayer.

 

10. Possessing the ability to ritually purify oneself: if a person either has no pure materials with which to ritually purify himself, or is unable to use those materials (such as someone who is imprisoned or tied up), then it is no longer obligatory for him to perform the prayer. Furthermore, if he finds the means or ability to purify himself after the time of that prayer has come to an end, then he does not have to make that prayer up.

 

11. Not being in a state of sleep or forgetfulness about the prayer.

 

12. Being free of the blood of menstruation or post-natal bleeding.

 

165. For the purpose of performing the prayer, what is the coarse ‘awra and light ‘awra of a man, and what is the coarse ‘awra and light ‘awra of a woman?

 

The coarse ‘awra of a man is his private parts, namely: his penis, testicles and the area between his two buttocks (i.e. his anus). The light ‘awra of a man is all the other parts of his body lying between his navel and knees (excluding the knees themselves), such as his pubic area, buttocks and upper legs.

 

The coarse ‘awra of a free woman is all the parts of her body lying between her breasts and knees (excluding the breasts and knees themselves), including her belly, lower back, pubic area, buttocks and upper legs. Except her face and hands, all the remaining parts of her body, including her shoulders, breasts, upper back, arms, knees, lower legs, neck, head, hair and the tops of her feet, are considered part of her light ‘awra. It is forbidden for a man who is not related to her to gaze upon either her light ‘awra or her coarse ‘awra.

 

166. What is the ruling on covering the ‘awra when performing the prayer?

 

It is obligatory for a person to cover his coarse ‘awra when performing the prayer if he has the ability to do so. Indeed, this act of covering is a precondition for the performance of the prayer. If a person is unable to find anything with which to cover himself, then he may pray with his ‘awra exposed and his prayer is considered to be valid. As for covering the light ‘awra during the prayer, it is only an obligation and not a precondition. Therefore, the prayer of a person who prays with his light ‘awra exposed is valid, but he has sinned by doing so, and it is recommended for him to repeat that prayer.

 

As for the one who prays with his coarse ‘awra exposed due to forgetfulness (i.e. he forgets that he has not properly clothed himself), the rajih (preferred) position within the Maliki madhhab is that it is obligatory for him to repeat the prayer, irrespective of how much time has passed since he first prayed that prayer.

 

If the person performing the prayer knows that that there is somebody close by from whom he could borrow the necessary clothing with which to cover himself, but does not try to do so and prays naked, then his prayer is invalid. Similarly, even if the only clothing available to him is impure (such as a cloth with blood or urine on it) or forbidden (such as silk for a man ), he must use it to cover his ‘awra when performing his prayer. If he neglects to do so then his prayer is invalid. Forbidden clothing is preferable to impure clothing if they are the only two options available.

 

167. When is it recommended for the person who prayed with all or part of his ‘awra exposed to make up the prayer?

 

There are five cases in which it is recommended for a person who prayed with all or part of his ‘awra exposed to repeat that prayer within the daruri time:

 

1. A man who prays with his pubic region or buttocks exposed (but not his penis or testicles). If a man prays with only his upper legs exposed, then he is not required to repeat the prayer because the prohibition against exposing them is much weaker.

 

2. A woman who prays with any part of her light ‘awra exposed, even if it is only the tops of her feet. She does not, however, have to repeat the prayer if she prays with the bottoms of her feet exposed.

 

3. A young girl of nine years old or more who prays without fully covering herself up in the manner required of an adult woman.

 

4. A person who performs the prayer wearing an impure garment, or silk or gold (even if it is just a ring). The latter two only apply to men as women are permitted to wear both silk and gold.

 

5. A person who prays with his coarse ‘awra exposed because he is unable to cover it, and then finds suitable clothing whilst he is still within the prayer’s time.

 

The daruri time, in this case, extends to the time of the yellowing of the sun in the case of the two Dhuhrs (Dhuhr and ‘Asr), right up to the time of Fajr in the case of the two ‘Isha’s (Maghrib and ‘Isha’) and until sunrise in the case of Subh.

.

168. When is it only recommended for a person to cover their ‘awra?

 

There are three cases in which it is merely recommended, not obligatory, for a person to cover their ‘awra:

 

1. It is recommended for a person who is on his own to cover his coarse ‘awra when he performs the prayer, even when he is surrounded by pitch-black darkness. This ruling applies to both men and women.

 

2. It is recommended for young girls over the age of nine to cover themselves in the same way as adult women when they perform the prayer: they should cover every part of their bodies except their faces and hands.

 

3. It is recommended for young boys over the age of nine to cover themselves in the same way as adult men when they perform the prayer: they should cover the area between their navels and knees, and should also cover the parts of the body which adult men are only recommended to cover, such as the upper torso and shoulders.

 

169. What is the ruling on facing the qibla?

 

If the following two preconditions are satisfied, then it is obligatory for a person to face the qibla when he performs the prayer:

 

1. That he has the ability to do so: a person who is physically incapacitated, such as somebody who is tied up or somebody who is so ill that he cannot turn his body, is not required to face the qibla and may pray in a different direction. The ruling governing a person who is so ill that he cannot turn his body towards the qibla is the same as the one governing a person performing tayammum: if he despairs of finding somebody to turn him towards the qibla, then he should pray at the beginning of the prayer’s time in whichever direction he is able; if he is unsure about whether someone will come along and help him, then he should wait until the middle of the time before praying; and if he thinks it probable that somebody will come along within the time of the prayer, then he should wait until the end of the time before praying.

 

2. That he is in a position of physical safety: in other words, that he is not in a situation whereby turning towards the qibla might subject him to physical danger. Whenever a person is in a perilous situation, such as on the battlefield or in a lawless region plagued by bandits and wild animals, he should disregard the qibla and pray in the direction from which he expects the danger to come.

 

If someone fails to face the qibla out of forgetfulness, he always must repeat the prayer.

 

170. Is it obligatory for a person to actually physically face the structure of the Ka’ba, or is it enough for him to pray in its general direction?

 

It is obligatory for anyone who lives within eyesight of the Ka’ba, such as the inhabitants of Makka or those who live in the surrounding mountains, to physically face the structure of the Ka’ba with their entire bodies while praying: if even one of their limbs is not directly facing the structure of the Ka’ba then their prayer is invalid. Therefore a large group of people may not perform the prayer in a straight row if the width of that row is longer than the width of the Ka’ba, as the people at the ends of the rows would not be facing the body of the Ka’ba. In such a case, the people performing the prayer should stand in an arc, semi-circle or circle so that every one of them is facing the structure itself. Only when the group is small enough that the row formed by them is narrower than the width of the Ka’ba may they pray in a straight line.

 

[NOTE: If it is not possible for a person to see the Ka’ba because his line of sight is blocked by other buildings, for example, then he should use other landmarks to help ascertain the position of the Ka’ba, such as the Abu Qays mountain].

 

Although it is not obligatory for every inhabitant of Makka to pray in the Haram, it is obligatory for him to work out the qibla by actually sighting the Ka’ba, such as by going up onto the roof of his home. It is enough for him to establish the qibla in this manner once: then he may continue to perform all future prayers without re-sighting the Ka’ba. It is not permissible for a person to use calculations to work out the qibla when he is able to know its direction with certainty.

 

If a person is so far away from the Ka’ba that it is physically impossible for him to sight it, then he is permitted to pray in its general direction. This ruling applies even when he is in places which are fairly close such as Mina.

 

171. Is it acceptable to blindly follow the opinion of another when it comes to ascertaining the direction of the qibla?

 

If a person is a mujtahid – if he knows how to ascertain the direction using natural phenomena such as the light of the dawn, position of the sun, qualities of the wind, and location of different stars in the night sky – then it is forbidden for him to accept somebody else’s word when it comes to the qibla, even if he subsequently becomes blind. If he does become blind, then he must ask others to describe the natural phenomena to him so that he can use his own knowledge to work out the qibla. The only time it is permitted for such a person to follow another’s interpretation of the qibla is when he is living in a land in which a mihrab has been established. This is because a mihrab is only built when there is a consensus amongst the people of knowledge as to the direction of the qibla.

 

If a person is not a mujtahid, then he must either ask a trustworthy mujtahid to show him the direction of the qibla, or pray in the direction of the mihrab. If there is no mihrab and no one around to show him the direction of the qibla, then he should choose any one of the four directions and pray towards it. This same ruling applies in the case of the mujtahid who finds himself unable to work out the qibla due to extenuating circumstances, such as the sun being concealed by clouds.

 

Note: It is also said that, in both these cases, a person should perform the prayer four times, one towards each of the four directions.

 

172. What is the ruling on a mujtahid who calculates the qibla, but then ignores his calculations and prays in a different direction? Or a non-mujtahid who receives advice from a mujtahid regarding the direction of the qibla, but then ignores that advice and prays in a different direction?

 

The prayer of a mujtahid is invalid if he disregards his own calculations and prays in a direction other than that to which the evidence points. Similarly, the prayer of a non-mujtahid is invalid if he consults a trustworthy mujtahid but then ignores his advice and prays in a direction other than indicated to him. In both these cases, it is obligatory to repeat the prayer, even if the direction in which they did pray was actually the true qibla.

 

173. What is the ruling on a person who prays in a direction other than the qibla?

 

There are three factors which must be taken into account when formulating the ruling on a person who prays in a direction other than the qibla: whether that person is blind, how far removed the direction was from the qibla and when he realised his mistake. If he is sighted and realises during his prayer that the direction in which he is praying is more than 90 degrees removed from the qibla, then he should break off his prayer, face the qibla and start again. If the direction in which he is praying is less than 90 degrees removed from the qibla, then he should turn his body towards the qibla without breaking off his prayer. If he is blind then, even if his back is to the qibla, he does not break off his prayer. Rather, as soon as he realises his mistake, he simply turns his body towards the qibla and continues his prayer uninterrupted.

 

If a sighted person prayed in a direction more than 90 degrees removed from the qibla but did not realise is mistake until after the prayer, then he should repeat that prayer within its daruri time. He does not need to repeat the prayer if the direction in which he prayed was less than 90 degrees removed from the qibla. If a blind person realises his mistake after the prayer, he does not need to repeat the prayer regardless of how far removed the direction he prayed in was from the qibla.

 

174. What is the ruling on a person who prays in a direction other than the qibla on account of forgetfulness?

 

If a person forgets the qibla, prays in a different direction and then remembers the qibla after he has finished praying, he should repeat the prayer if he is still within its daruri time.

 

If a person forgets the fact that facing qibla is a precondition of the prayer and prays in a different direction, then his prayer is invalid and he must repeat it, even if the time of that prayer has already passed.

 

The repetition of the prayer mentioned here only applies to obligatory prayers. Voluntary prayers are never repeated.

 

175 (a): Is it is permissible for a person to pray voluntary prayers in a direction other than the qibla whilst travelling?

 

It is permissible for a traveller to perform voluntary prayers in the direction in which he is travelling, even if his back is towards the qibla. This ruling applies to all voluntary prayers, even strongly-emphasised sunnas like the Witr prayer. However, there are five preconditions:

 

1. That the journey is long enough for it to be valid for him to shorten his obligatory prayers: in other words, he must be travelling at least 48 miles.

 

2. That the journey is not one of disobedience.*

 

3. That the traveller is mounted upon a riding-animal, either directly on its back or in a litter or howdah.

 

4. That the riding-animal is a beast of burden, such as a donkey, mule, horse or camel.

 

5. That the traveller is sitting on the riding-animal in a normal fashion: in other words, he should be facing forward and straddling the horse, not facing backwards or riding side-saddle.

 

[*what is meant by a journey of disobedience is a journey for the purpose of doing something forbidden in the Shari’a, such as going out to commit highway robbery and the like.]

 

175 (b): If a person is praying whilst on horse-back, how should he perform the prayer?

 

If a person is sitting in a litter or howdah and it is wide enough for him to sit cross-legged, then he should perform the prayer from that position. He should perform his ruku’ by leaning forward, and prostrate in the way that he normally would by placing his forehead and palms on the floor of the litter.

 

If a person is sitting directly on the back of a riding-animal then he should perform the prayer from the straddling position in which he is seated. He should perform the ruku’ by leaning forward slightly, and should prostrate by gesturing with the palms of his hands towards the ground,* not by placing his forehead on the bow of his saddle or the mane of his horse. He should also remove his turban if he is wearing one. It is permissible for him to actively ride his animal while praying: therefore, he may dig his heels into his mount’s ribs, hold its reins or even whip it without invalidating his prayer. The only thing he is not allowed to do is utter words extraneous to the prayer.

 

If this person, in the course of his prayer and without truly needing to, deliberately turns aside from the direction in which he is travelling, then his prayer becomes invalid. Unless, of course, it is the qibla towards which he turns.

 

If a person is travelling by ship, then he must perform a complete prayer as if he were on dry land and must pray in the direction of qibla, not merely in the direction he is travelling. He should stand up, face the qibla, and perform a full ruku’ by placing his hands upon his knees and a full prostration by placing his forehead and palms upon the deck of the ship. If the ship changes direction whilst he is praying, then he should turn so that he is always facing the qibla. If the ship is so narrow, however, that he does not have room to turn, then he may continue to pray in the same direction in which he started. This applies to both obligatory prayers and voluntary prayers.

 

[*It is does not matter if the ground is pure or not, as he himself is not in direct contact with the ground.]

 

176. May obligatory prayers be performed on the back of a riding-animal?

 

There are only four instances in which it is valid* to pray an obligatory prayer on the back of a riding-animal:

 

1. When a person is actively engaged in fighting** with the enemy at close quarters. If he is on the battlefield, he prays his obligatory prayers on horseback and performs the motions by inclining his head towards the qibla if he is able to do that without placing himself in unnecessary danger. He does not need to repeat the prayer even if the danger passes.

 

2. When a person is in a dangerous region infested by carnivorous wild animals or bandits and fears that his life or health would be in danger if he were to dismount. A person in this situation should face his animal towards the qibla and perform the prayer on horseback. If the fear of attack passes and he feels himself to be safe, then he should repeat the prayer if it is still within its daruri time .

 

3. When a person is travelling through a bog or other muddy treacherous terrain and is either unable to get off his animal or fears that his clothes will be ruined by dismounting and praying on the ground. If he thinks that he will still be in the swampy area at the end of ikhtiyari time, he should perform the prayer at the beginning of its time whilst seated upon his mount and facing the direction of qibla. If, however, he thinks that he will have left the swampy area behind before the end of the ikhtiyari time, he should delay his prayer to the end of its ikhtiyari time and pray it then.

 

4. When a person is so ill that he is either unable to dismount from his animal or knows that, even if he were to dismount, he would still only use gestures and inclinations of the head to perform the motions of the prayer. This person may perform the prayer mounted, but should stop his animal moving and face it in the direction of the qibla. If this person does, however, feel that he would be able to perform the prayer in a more complete fashion upon the ground, then it is obligatory for him to dismount and pray on the ground.

 

[*There are some who say that it is valid if the person performing the prayer is facing qibla and performs his ruku’ and prostration in full, but it is safest to take the view that it is not permissible. .]

 

[**The fighting must legally-sanctioned by the Shari’a. If the fighting is forbidden, such as fighting in the course of committing robbery, then this ruling does not apply.]

 

177. What is the ruling on being free of impurity?

 

It is obligatory for a person to make sure that his body, clothes and the place in which he prays are all free of impurity. This obligation is contingent on a person being able to remove the impurity and remembering to do so: therefore, the prayer of a person who forgets or is unable to free himself from impurity is valid. It is recommended, however, that he repeat the prayer within its daruri time.

 

Nosebleeds

 

178. What should a person do when he develops a nosebleed before or during the prayer?

 

If a person develops a nosebleed before the prayer and he thinks it will continue to bleed throughout the whole of the ikhtiyari time without stopping, he should pray that prayer at the beginning of its time whilst his nose is bleeding. Furthermore, he is not required to repeat the prayer if the bleeding does actually stop before the end of the time.

 

If he thinks that the bleeding will stop before the end of the ikhtiyari time, he must delay praying until either the bleeding stops or the ikhtiyari time nears its end. Because of his expectation that the bleeding in his nose will stop, it is not valid for him to pray at the beginning of the time. In both the aforementioned cases, the severity of the nosebleed is immaterial: it does not matter how much or how quickly the blood comes out, the ruling remains the same.

 

If a person develops a nosebleed during the prayer and he thinks it will continue to bleed throughout the whole of the ikhtiyari time without stopping, he is not permitted to break off his prayer but must complete it. The only exception to this is if he thinks that blood will drop from his nose on to the carpet of the mosque and soil it. If that is the case, then he must break off his prayer.

 

When a person performs the prayer with a nosebleed he should perform all of the motions of the prayer as he normally would, except if he fears that, by doing so, he will make the nosebleed worse or cause irreparable damage to his clothes by soiling them with his blood. In such circumstances, he should not perform ruku’ and prostration in full, but should perform ruku’ by partially bowing his body or inclining his head and perform prostration by gesturing with his hands towards the ground.

 

If a person develops a nosebleed during the prayer and he thinks it will stop bleeding before the end of the ikhtiyari time, or is unsure whether it will stop bleeding or not, then the ruling is dependent upon the severity of the nosebleed:

 

1) A mild nosebleed: if the blood is only leaking into his nostrils, not dripping or flowing out of his nose, then he does not break off the prayer but uses his left hand to find out how much blood has emerged. He does this by inserting the tip of one of the fingers of his left hand into his nostrils, moving it around inside and then taking it out. He then rubs the finger with his thumb until the blood has been spread around the whole top segment of that finger covering it completely. Then he repeats the action with each of the other fingers of his left hand. If the bleeding stops before all the top segments of the fingers of his left hand are covered, then he ignores the blood and completes his prayer. If it continues to bleed, then he should move to the middle segments of the fingers of his left hand. If the amount of blood on those middle segments exceeds a mule’s dirham* and enough time remains within the ikhtiyari time for him to repeat the prayer, then he should break off the prayer, clean himself up and start again. If there is not enough time remaining within the ikhtiyari time, then he must continue his prayer uninterrupted.

 

[The text just says ‘dirham’, but he is referring to a camel’s dirham which is not a dirham at all.]

 

2) A severe nosebleed: if blood is actually dripping or flowing out of the nose of somebody performing the prayer, then the number of options open to him depend upon how much time remains within the ikhtiyari time. If plenty of time remains, he has two choices: breaking off the prayer, cleaning himself up and starting again; or building on the prayer. But if only a short amount of time remains such that were he to break off his prayer and start again he would miss the ikhtiyari time, then only one option is available to him: building on the prayer. A person suffering a severe nosebleed builds on his prayer in the following way: When his nose starts bleeding, he staunches the flow of blood by pinching his nostrils together with his left hand. Then he leaves the prayer, washes the blood from his nose, returns to the prayer and completes it with the imam. If he has missed any rak’ats in the process of doing this, then he must make them up after the imam finishes. So, for example, if he prayed one whole rak’at with the imam, then left the prayer during the second rak’at and returned in time to catch the fourth rak’at, he would have to make up the second and third rak’ats after the imam had completed the prayer. A person must fulfil the following six preconditions in order to build upon his prayer in this way:

 

i) That no more than a mule’s dirham worth of blood falls on to his clothes or body: if more blood than this falls on them, then he must break off his prayer.

 

ii) That he uses the nearest possible source of pure water to wash off the blood: if he leaves one source of water in favour of one that is further away then his prayer becomes invalid.

 

iii) That the water-source is actually close by : if it is far away then his prayer becomes invalid.

 

iv) That he does not turn his back on the qibla whilst making his way towards the water except if he has a valid excuse for doing so: if he does turn away without a valid excuse then his prayer becomes invalid.

 

v) That he does not step on any impurities whilst making his way towards the water: if he does step on any impurities, then his prayer becomes invalid.

 

vi) That he does not speak whilst making his trip to clean away the blood: if he does speak, even inadvertently, then his prayer becomes invalid.

 

Places in which it is disliked to pray and places in which it is not disliked to pray

 

179. In which places is it disliked for a person to perform the prayer?

 

There are two places in which it is disliked to pray:

 

1. The place in which camels kneel to drink*: it is recommended that a person who prays there repeat his prayer within the daruri time.

 

2. A church,** regardless of whether it is ruined or still in use. The element of dislike is removed if a person is not praying there out of choice but because he has been forced to by circumstance, such as when there is heavy rain outside or when he is hiding from the enemy. If a person does perform the prayer in a church then he should only repeat his prayer if the following three preconditions are fulfilled:

 

i) That the church is still in use: if it is in a state of ruin then he does not repeat his prayer.

 

ii) That he is praying there out of choice: if it is necessity which has forced him to pray there then he does not repeat his prayer.

 

iii) That he is unsure whether the place in which he performed the prayer is pure or not: if he knows for a fact or thinks it probable that the place in which he prayed was pure then he does not repeat the prayer.

 

[*As for the place in which camels sleep, there is no dislike involved in praying there. ]

 

[**Church is not being used in the narrow sense of a Christian place of worship – rather it means any place non-Muslims use to perform acts of worship, such as synagogues and temples.]

 

180. In which places is it not disliked to pray?

 

Contrary to popular belief, there is no dislike in praying in the following six places:

 

1. A cemetery, regardless of whether it is still being used or not, and regardless of whether it is Muslims who are buried there or unbelievers. It is even permissible for a person to pray directly on top of a grave, so long as he does not come into direct contact with the bones themselves.

 

2. A bathhouse.

 

3. A rubbish dump, or any other place in which people throw their garbage.

 

4. The middle of a main road or thoroughfare.

 

5. An abattoir.

 

If a person is performing the prayer in any of the five places mentioned above, then he must be fairly certain that there is no impurity in the spot upon which he is praying. If he is unsure about whether the place is impure or not, then it is recommended for him to repeat the prayer within its daruri time. If he knows for a fact or thinks it probable that the place is impure, then it is obligatory for him to repeat the prayer.

 

6. A sheep pen or cattle pen: the droppings of livestock are pure, so there is unlikely to be any impurity in these places.

 

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