Prayer under Jeopardy [Salatul Khauf]
The obligation of salat is never waived even if the believers are in a battlefield. Even in this condition they have to discharge their obligation. However, under such conditions provision has been made for performance of salatul khauf. This is arranged by making one part of the army to face the enemy while the other part is allowed to perform their prayer behind an imam. The imam pauses after administering the first rak’at and waits till the first part completes its second raka’t and departs after reciting the salam themselves. Then they go back to the front. Then the second part of the army comes to pray behind the same imam who administers them the first rak’at and the imam without reciting salam keeps waiting till the second part completes its second rak’at themselves. Then the imam recites salam along with all others. As narrated by Hadrat Sahl bin Aabi Khathima, once one part of the army stood behind Allah’s Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to pray while the other part took its position in front of the enemy. The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) administered the first rak’at to them and then waited till they completed their prayer and went back to the front. Then the second part came and the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) administered them his second rak’at. Then he waited till others completed their second rak’at and thereafter he recited salam along with them (Ibn Maja and others).
The Salat of the Traveller
Allah has made a concession for the travellers by permitting them to shorten their four rak’ats of a fardh salat to two rak’ats [this is called Qasr].
No fixed distance has been prescribed for the journey to be performed. What is regarded as a journey in common parlance will be deemed to be a journey. A person will be regarded as a traveller when he proceeds on journey from his settlement till he returns to it. Another concession is that a traveller can combine two prayers for instance the zohr and asr or maghrib and isha and can delay one salat to combine it with another except the fajr salat which cannot be combined with any other salat.
Nafl Salats [Optional Prayers]
One medium for achieving the love of Allah is the performance of optional prayers. The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) once said that:
وَمَا يَزَالُ عَبْدِي يَتَقَرَّبُ إِلَيَّ بِالنَّوَافِلِ حَتَّى أُحِبَّهُ فَإِذَا أَحْبَبْتُهُ كُنْتُ سَمْعَهُ الَّذِي يَسْمَعُ بِهِ وَبَصَرَهُ الَّذِي يُبْصِرُ بِهِ وَيَدَهُ الَّتِي يَبْطِشُ بها ورجله التي يمشي بها وإن سألني لأعطينه ولين استعاذني لأعيذنه
Allah Almighty says that through nawafil [optional prayers] my slave remains in communion with me till I begin to love him, and when I keep loving him I become his ears with which he hears; I become his eyes with which he sees; I become his hands with which he catches; and I become his legs with which he walks. If he beseeches me for anything I bestow it upon him and if he seeks refuge from me I give him refuge (Al-Bukhari). Allah’s Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
«اسْتَقِيمُوا وَلَنْ تُحْصُوا، وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ خَيْرَ أَعْمَالِكُمُ الصَّلَاةُ، وَلَا يُحَافِظُ عَلَى الْوُضُوءِ إِلَّا مُؤْمِنٌ»
Tighten your belts for prayers and don’t account them. The best among your deeds is the performance of prayers. Only a believer can keep up his wadhu [Ahmad, Ibn Maja, Ha’kim, Baihaqi). Hadrat Rabi’a’ bin Ka’b al-Aslami has narrated that once Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Seek what you wish to seek. So I said I wish your company in the Paradise. Then the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: Ask for something more. I said this is enough. He then said make a habit of frequent sujud [prostration] (Muslim).
A nafl salat is one which a believer performs optionally in addition to the fardh salats. Nawafil are of different varieties: There are some which are conjoined with the fardh salats, some of which are muakkadah [emphasized] and some others are ghair muakkadah [non-emphasized].
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