The Prayer of the Forenoon
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said; A charity becomes due upon each son of Adam for each one of his bones and the joints. Saluting everybody whom he meets is a charity; to call for a good deed is a charity; to prevent from evil deeds is a charity; to remove obstacles from the path is a charity; to feed one’s life-partner is a charity. To perform two rak’ats of salat in the forenoon compensates for all this charity (Abu Dawood). The time for forenoon optional prayer commences ten minutes after the rise of the sun and lasts till the adhan of Zohr. The minimum number of rak’ats is two and the maximum is eight. One is free either to perform four or six dividing them in units of two rak’ats each.
The Prayer of Istikharah
Istikharah means seeking divine guidance in making of a good choice. When a believer gets confounded about which one of two valid alternatives to choose he invokes the guidance of Allah Almighty. Thus he seeks this guidance by performing two rak’ats of salat-i-istikharah. This is a Sunnah of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). There is no fixed timing for it. After the completion of salat, the person recites the supplication as taught by the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). It has been narrated by Hadrat Jabir bin Abdullah RadhiAllahu Anhu that Allah’s Messenger, (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to teach us the practice of isikharah in our affairs just as he used to teach Quran to us. He said that if any one of you intends to do something he should pray two rak’ats of nafl salat and then recite this supplication:
«اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ العَظِيمِ، فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلاَ أَقْدِرُ، وَتَعْلَمُ وَلاَ أَعْلَمُ، وَأَنْتَ عَلَّامُ الغُيُوبِ، اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ خَيْرٌ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي – أَوْ قَالَ عَاجِلِ أَمْرِي وَآجِلِهِ – فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي، ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ، وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ شَرٌّ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي – أَوْ قَالَ فِي عَاجِلِ أَمْرِي وَآجِلِهِ – فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ، وَاقْدُرْ لِي الخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ، ثُمَّ أَرْضِنِي»
“O my God I seek from Thee the best alternative with the aid of thy knowledge; and seek my empowerment with the aid of thy power; and I beg of you Thy great bounty; Verily Thou determines and I don’t determine and Thou knows and I don’t know and Thou are the knower of all unknown things. O my God if Thou knows that matter [here one should mention his need] is good for me in my religion and livelihood and my destiny determine it and facilitate it for me and then bless me in it; and if Thou knows that this matter [here one should mention his need] is bad for me in my religion and my livelihood and my destiny then divert it from me and divert me from it and determine me the good wherever it be and then make me contented with it (Al-Bukhari).
Salatul Hajah: The Prayer in Distress
It is narrated by Hadrat Abdullah bin Abi Aufa RadhiAllahu Anhu that once Allah’s Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) passed by us and said: If any one you has a need to be fulfilled by Allah or by a man then he ought to take ablution properly and perform two rak’ats of salat. Then after praising Allah and sending salat and salam upon his Messenger he should recite this supplication:
لاَ اِلَہ اِلاَّ اللہ ُالحلیمُ الکریمُ سبُحَانَ اللہِ رَبِّ العَرشِ العَظیِم الحمدُ للہِ رَبِّ العَا لِمین اَسأَلُكَ موجباتِ رَحمَتکَ وَعَزَائِمَ مَغفِرَتَک وَالعِصمَۃ مِن کُل ذَنبٍ وَالغَنِیمَۃِ مِن کُل بِرٍّ وَالسَّلَامَۃِ مِن کُلِّ اِثمٍ لاَ تَدعَ لَنَا ذَنباً اِلاَّ غَفَرتَہ وَ لاَغَماا ِلاَّ فَرَّجتَہ وَلَا حَا جَۃً ھِىَ لک رضاً اِلاَّ قَضَیتَھَا یاَ اَرحَم الرَّاحِمِین
(Translation) “There is no ilah but Allah the forbearer and munificent. Praise be to Allah the owner of the Great Seat. Praise be to Allah the Creator of all the universe. I beseech you for the causation of your mercy and the determination of your forgiveness and immunity from all sin and the bounty of all goodness and protection from all wrong. Leave not for us any sin which Thou hast not forgiven and any worry which Thou hast not cleared and the need which is here before Thee Which Thou hast not fulfilled O the most merciful of all the beneficent” (Tirmizi, Nasai, Ibn Maja).
Prayer of Tawbah (Repentance)
Allah’s Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
«مَا مِنْ عَبْدٍ يُذْنِبُ ذَنْبًا، فَيُحْسِنُ الطُّهُورَ، ثُمَّ يَقُومُ فَيُصَلِّي رَكْعَتَيْنِ، ثُمَّ يَسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ، إِلَّا غَفَرَ اللَّهُ لَهُ»
“If a person commits a sin, he should take ablution properly and perform two rak’ats of salat. Then ask Allah’s forgiveness for his sin. Allah will forgive him (Ahmad, Compilers of Sunan and Ibn- Hibban).
The Prayer of Solar Eclipse
Hadrat Ayesha RadhiAllahu Anha narrated that during the life-time of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) once there occurred a solar eclipse. Then he went to the mosque and recited the takbeer. People formed rows behind him. He recited from the Quran for a long time, then raised takbeer and went into ruku’. His ruku’ was as long as the qira’at. Then he raised his head and recited “smiallah leman hamidah, Rabbana wa lakal hamd” and kept standing and recited from Quran for a long time then raised takbeer then went into ruku’ and said “smiallah leman hamidah, Rabbana wa lakal hamd” then went into sajdah. He offered the second rak’at in the same way. Thus in two rak’ats he had four qiyam (standings), four ruku’ and four sajdahs (Prostration). The eclipse was over before the completion of the salat. Thereafter he delivered a sermon in which he said the Sun and Moon are but two symbols of Allah. They don’t eclipse because of the death or birth of anybody. When you see them in this condition fear Allah and hasten to salat.
This salat is a Sunnah muakkadah. It is performed on both solar and lunar eclipse. Each rak’at has two standings and two ruku’s. It should be performed with jama’at in the mosque. It should commence at the beginning of eclipse and end with the end of the eclipse.
The Prayer for Rains
This prayer is also a Sunnah muakkadah. It is performed for invoking rains. Once people complained to Allah’s Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) about the acute drought. The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then ascended the pulpit and after takbeer and praise of Allah said you people have complained of the drought. Allah has ordered that you pray to Him for rains. He will listen to your prayers. Then he recited the prayer:
الحمد للہ رب العالمین الرحمن الرحیم مالک یوم الدین لا الہ الا اللہ یَفعَل ُمَا یُرِیدُ اللھُمَّ لاَ اِلَہَ اِلاَّ اَنتَ، اَنتَ الغَنِّیُ وَنَحنُ الفُقَرَاء اِنزِل عَلَینَا الغَیثَ وَاجعَل مَا اَنزَلتَ عَلیَنَا قُوَّۃ وَبَلاغًا اِلَی حِین
(Translation) “Praise be to Allah the Creator of the universe, the most beneficent and the most merciful, the Lord of the day of Judgment. There is no ilah but Allah He does what he wills. O our God there is no god except you. You are the affluent and we are the paupers. Send to us your rains and make what you send upon us a source of strength and access for us for some time”. Then he raised both his hands in supplication, then he turned his back towards the people and turned his sheet left-right and up-down, then he turned to the people and descended from the pulpit and then led the people to perform two rak’ats of salat. No sooner was the salat over than dark clouds came and rains poured in with thunder and lightning. By the time people came out of the mosque all paths were flooded with water. When the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saw the people running toward their homes to escape from rain, he laughed till his teeth were clearly seen. He said I testify that Allah is capable of doing anything and that I am His slave and messenger” (Abu Dawood, Ha’kim).
This salat consists of two rak’ats and has takbeerat like the salats of both Eids and qira’at is loud. This prayer is performed outside the settlement in the open field. In place of pulpit the imam addresses the congregation on the ground and delivers his sermon for reminding the people to do good deeds and avoid sins, stop quarrelling among themselves, and pay their dues to the people. He tells them that drought and famine are imposed in punishment of our wrong-doings and disobedience to Allah. He should exhort them to live in amity and engage in giving out charity and worship of Allah.
People should proceed to this salat on foot along with their wives, children, old men and women and even the animals. They should pray for rains beseeching and weeping. Men folk ought to turn their sheets up-down. Only men should do that, not women.
In addition to the above, there are certain other nawafil attributed to Allah’s Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), namely:
- Tahiyyatul Masjid
- Two rak’ats after ablution
- Two rak’ats before proceeding on journey.
- Two rak’ats after returning from journey.
In-House Nafl Prayers
In Islam utmost emphasis has been given to performance of salats with jama’at in the mosque. But at the same time it is ordained that homes should also be illuminated with prayers. Allah’s Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that:
«إِذَا قَضَى أَحَدُكُمُ الصَّلَاةَ فِي مَسْجِدِهِ، فَلْيَجْعَلْ لِبَيْتِهِ نَصِيبًا مِنْ صَلَاتِهِ، فَإِنَّ اللهَ جَاعِلٌ فِي بَيْتِهِ مِنْ صَلَاتِهِ خَيْرًا»
When any one of you prays in the mosque he should not forget to keep a portion for his home also. It is through prayers that Allah bestows well-being and bounty upon homes. (Muslim, Ahmad). In another hadith, he said:
«اجْعَلُوا مِنْ صَلَاتِكُمْ فِي بُيُوتِكُمْ, وَلَا تَتَّخِذُوهَا قُبُورًا»
Make some of your prayers in your houses and do not make them graves (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
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