FAQ in the category of Prayer

1 Can the verse; "Subhana rabbika rabbil 'izzati amma yasifun wa salamun alal mursalin wal hamdulillahi rabbil 'alamin" be recited in any rak'ath of a prayer after al-Fatiha?

Any verse that exists in the Qur'an can be recited after al-Fatiha in prayer.

The translation of the verses is as follows:

"Glory to thy Lord the Lord, of Honour and Power! (He is free) from what they ascribe (to Him)! And Peace on the Messengers! And praise to Allah, the Lord and Cherisher of the Worlds." (Surah as-Saaffat, 180-182)

2 Does crying invalidate the prayer (salah) and wudu?

Though it is makrooh (abominable) to cry silently in the prayer (salah) for a worldly matter, it does not invalidate the prayer. However, crying loudly just by remembering a worldly matter or moaning with weariness because of pain invalidate the prayer but the wudu is not broken.   

And again, the prayer of someone is not invalidated because of his/her involuntary noises originating from pain. However, According to the sects of Hanafi and Shafii, the prayer is invalidated when a person cries loudly and utters things like uh-oh because of worldly calamities or personal illnesses. (see Zuhayli, al Fiqhu'l-Islami, II/7-10).

If the crying is caused by remembering Paradise and Hell, the prayer is not invalidated as it is caused by khushu (humbleness in prayer). The following is stated in the hadith:

"He who obeys Almighty Allah by crying, enters Paradise by laughing and he who sins by laughing enters Hell by crying."

Crying out of prayer does not invalidate the wudu. However, it is stated in Badayi'us-Sanai that the wudu is invalidated because of the flow caused by the eye pain and such a person becomes mazur (excused); thus he/she needs to have wudu for every prayer when its time comes.

3 How is Qa'da al-Akhira (last sitting) performed in prayer?

What is Qa'da al-Akhira (last sitting)?

It means sitting in the last rak'ah of prayer after sajdahs (prostrations). Sitting after the second and fourth rak'ahs in the prayer is called qa'da. The sitting in prayer is performed after the second and third rak'ahs of Maghrib and Witr prayers, which consist of three rak'ahs. The sitting after the second rak'ah in prayer is called Qa'da al-Ula (the first sitting), and the sitting after the third and fourth rak'ahs in prayer is called Qa'da al-Akhira (the last sitting). The first sitting is wajib and the last sitting is fard. The last sitting in the second rak'ah of two-rak'ah prayers is the last sitting as there is no first sitting in these prayers.

How is the form of sitting?

In the first and last sittings, the left foot is placed horizontally and we sit on it. And the right foot is erected (vertically) on toes facing the Qibla. The fingers of hands are put on thighs. The knees are not grasped. The body is held straight and we look at the lap. Women sit by tilting both feet to the right side.

What is the duration of the sitting?

The duration of the sitting which is fard is the length of tashahhud. What is meant for the length of tashahhud is sitting long enough to recite at-tahiyyat.

4 Is it permissible to pray in front of the mirror?

There are some deeds which are considered makrooh (abominable) during the prayer; though they do not invalidate the prayer, they overshadow the spiritual pleasure and zest of the prayer which are considered to be the spirit of it. So, it is necessary to be careful about it.

There are many deeds in prayer that are considered makrooh. They can be learnt in detail from fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) books. However, it is not possible to see every deed that is makrooh in every book. The aforementioned subject is one of them.

There is a general rule on this issue. Things that prevent the praying man from focusing on the prayer wholly, that is, the things that harm the khushu (humbleness) in prayer; anything that distracts attention is included in the group of makrooh (abominable) deeds.

If things such as mirrors or windows and some sort of scenery that are in front of us distract our attention and keep us busy and thus harm the khushu (humbleness) of the prayer in places outside the mosque, they are definitely regarded as makrooh. However, if the mirror, window or scenery do not distract our attention, it is not considered makrooh.

5 How many times of salah a day are stated in the Qur’an? If we perform only the fards of salah, will we have paid our debt?

If someone performs the fards of the salahs, he/she will have paid his/her debt. However, it is makruh to leave sunnah prayers without any excuses.

In the Qur’an, five daily salahs are ordered.

6 The prayer “Subhanaka” is read even before Sura al-Fatiha in the salah. Is “Subhanaka” a prayer? A hadith? What is its resource?

According to Hanafi and Hanbali madhhabs, it is sunnah to read the prayer Subhanaka. For, the following was reported from Aisha (ra):

“When Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) started salah, he read "Subhanakallahumma wa bihamdika wa tabarakasmuka wa taala jadduka wala ilaha ghayruk." 1

Subhanaka is derived from tasbih. It means to glorify Allah to say that He is free and away from any deficiencies. Tabarekasmuka is derived from barakah. And this means that divine goodness is stable in something. Taala jadduka:  Ced means magnificence. Ta'ala is derived from "Uluww". It means Your Majesty is superior to and more supreme than everything, or your  Glory and Magnificence  are supreme.

The meaning of this tasbih prayer (Subhanaka) is as follows:

“Glory be to you, O Allah, and all praises are due unto You, and blessed is Your name and high is Your majesty and none is worthy of worship but You."

1. Abu Dawud narrated this hadith. There is a similar hadith narration of Daraqutni from Anas. Five hadith imams narrated a similar hadith from Abu Said. It is reported in Muslim’s Sahih that Hadrat Omar read this aloud. (Naylul Awtar, II/195)

7 Does a mistake made while reciting a surah, either praying alone or in congregation by an imam, invalidate the prayer?

If such a mistake in reading does not spoil the meaning, it will not harm the prayer. However, this reminds us again the importance of learning the Qur'an or at least the short surahs that are read in prayer carefully and correctly. This is so important that, according to the sect of Shafii, not uttering a shaddah (doubled consonant) in surah al Fatiha causes great harm to the prayer.

8 Is Jumuah Salah (Friday prayer) not fard for women according to four madhhabs?

The conditions are set as follows in a hadith narrated by Jabir b. Abdullah:

“Jumuah salah is fard for those who believe in Allah and the Judgement Day. However, it is exceptional for passengers, slaves, children, women and the sick people. (Abu Dawud, I, 644, H. No: 1067; Daraqutni, II, 3; Baghawi, Sharhu's-Sunnah, I, 225) All Muslim men who are not included in the exceptions above have to perform the Friday prayer.

There is ijma (consensus) that the Friday prayer is not fard for women. Since Asr As-Sa’adah (the Age of Bliss), none of the Islamic mujtahids and scholars have stated te opposite all over the Islamic countries and at all times; the practice has continued like this.

Jumuah Salah is not fard for women in Hanafî, Shafii, Maliki and Hanbali madhhabs. However, if women are ready at Jumuah Salah and perform it, their salah is valid and it replaces the noon (zuhr) salah. (see Abdurrahman Jaziri, Dört Mezhebe Göre İslam Fıkhı (Islamic Fiqh According to Four Madhhabs), Cagrı Publications, Istanbul 1993, vol. 2, p. 534)

9 Is it permissible to pray in a room when the TV is on?

It is permissible to pray in a room when the TV is on. However, it is makrooh (abominable) to pray in front of a TV which is on. There is no drawback if it is off.

10 Can the prayer of fajr be performed after the time of imsak (abstinence)? Is it necessary to wait for the adhan?

The prayer of fajr can be performed after imsak time begins. It is not necessary to wait for the recitation of adhan. The reason of reciting the adhan late is to perform the fajr prayer in its virtuous time.

11 Are mucus and phlegm accepted as 'najis' (dirty) by religion? Do they prevent prayer from being accepted when smudged on the cloth?

Phlegm is not najis (dirty). When it smudges on the cloth, it will not prevent prayer from being accepted.

Mucus and phlegm are clean by the Islamic law (Shari'ah). That is, when they smudge on our clothes, they will not harm our prayer and wudu (ablution). Anything that excretes from human body and necessitates wudu and ghusl (major ablution) is najis (dirty): Urine, stool, mani (sperms), mazi (pre-seminal fluid), wadi (thick, murky liquid  discharged usually after urination), blood, pus, yellow liquid, mouthful puke, menstrual blood, and nifas (post-partum bleeding) and the blood of istihadha (blood due to a fracture in a capillary, due to an illness).

The things that do not invalidate wudu are not najis (dirty). As mucus and phlegm do not break wudu, they are not considered najis (dirty).

12 Is It true that arms and elbows must not touch the ground in prostration?

The position in prostration: “The feet and hands must face the direction of qiblah.“ Seven organs including the nose must touch the ground in prostration. These are the practices of the Prophet; it is sunnah not to put the elbows and the breast on the ground/floor, not to adjoin the arms to the body, and not to shrink and to be straight.”

The Messenger of Allah says; “when one of you prostrates, he must avoid laying his arms on the ground like a dog does; he must adjoin his thighs (Abu Dawud, II, 48).

The feet are kept in a vertical position, the toes touching the ground/floor; and the feet must not be raised from the ground.

The ground where we put our forehead for prostration must not be very soft. If the forehead feels the hardness of the ground although there is a light softness, this prostration is acceptable. Yet, the prostration is not acceptable when it is done on things like wool, cotton straw and snow because the forehead does not feel the hardness of the ground when it is placed on them. What is essential in prostration is as follows: the face must not sink into the ground and the forehead must feel the hardness of the ground.

The place to be prostrated on must not be higher than the level of the knees (approximately 30 cm). The height which is lower than this (30 cm) does not invalidate the prayer. Yet, during  a prayer performed in congregation, one can prostrate on the back of the person in front when it is not possible to prostrate on the floor/ground because of lack of space. This is acceptable if both of them (one prostrating and the other being prostrated on his back) are performing the same prayer at the same time.

13 Is it permissible to pray in dark? Will the prayer which is performed in dark be valid since the place of sajdah is not properly visible?

"We have not come across a statement saying that "performing prayer in a dark or half-dark place is makrooh (abominable)" among the makroohs of prayer or in any other sources. However, it is stated that closing eyes while praying is makrooh. Because it prevents seeing of the place of sajdah (prostration), which is mandub (recommended) to look at during the prayer. For, looking at the place of prostration during qiyam (standing) is one of the mandubs and adabs (good manners) of the prayer. (Tahtawi, p.288)

Praying in a dark or half-dark place is objectionable only in the following situation: If there is a suspicion about the cleanliness of the place of prayer or prostration and there is a possibility of dirtiness which would cause failure in performing one of the fards of prayer; cleaning from dirt, then performing prayer in that place will be unfavorable.

However, if a person has certain knowledge and opinion about the cleanliness of the prayer mat or the place of prostration, then praying in such a place will not be makrooh (abominable) though it is dark. For, there is a necessity here because a person prays in a dark place only because of necessity.

(Mehmed Paksu, Aileye Özel Fetvalar)

14 Was there daily prayer worship (salah) in other religions, too? Did other prophets and their ummahs (community) perform salah?

The times and form of salah may be different during the time of other prophets. However, along with the hadiths that show salah is an ongoing worship, there are also some verses which mention about ruku and sajdah. Some verses are as follows:

Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) prays as follows:

"O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Thy Sacred House; in order, O our Lord that they may establish regular prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with Fruits: so that they may give thanks."

"O my Lord! make me one who establishes regular Prayer, and also (raise such) among my offspring O our Lord! and accept Thou my Prayer. (Surah Ibrahim, 14/37 and 40)

The following is said concerning the prophets; Ibrahim, Lot, Ishaq (Isaac) and Yaqub (Jacob):

"And We made them leaders, guiding (men) by Our Command, and We sent them inspiration to do good deeds, to establish regular prayers, and to practise regular charity; and they constantly served Us (and Us only)." (Surah al-Anbiya, 21/73).

"Ismail used to enjoin on his people Prayer and Charity and he was most acceptable in the sight of his Lord." (Surah Maryam, 19/55)

Hz. Luqman (AS) advised his son as follows:

"O my son! Establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong." (Luqman, 31/17)

Some other verses about the subject are as follows:

"They said: "Oh Shuayb! does thy (religion of) prayer command thee that we leave off the worship which our fathers practised or that we leave off doing what we like with our property? Truly, thou art the one that forbeareth with faults and is right-minded!" (Hud, 11/87)

"We inspired Moses and his brother with this message: "Provide dwellings for your People in Egypt, make your dwellings into places of worship, and establish regular prayers: and give Glad Tidings to those who believe!" (Yunus, 10/87)

"O children of Israel!... be steadfast in prayer; give Zakat, and bow down your heads with those who bow down (in worship)." (al-Baqara, 2/40-43).

"O Mary! worship thy Lord devoutly; prostrate thyself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down." (Aal-e-Imran, 3/43).

"Isa (Jesus) said: "I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet; And He hath made me Blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live" (Maryam, 19/30-31).

Ahl al-Kitab (the People of the Book) were ordered to perform salah:

"Nor did the people of the Book make schisms, until after there came to them Clear Evidence. And they have been commanded no more than this: to worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being True (in faith); to establish regular Prayer; and to practise regular Charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight." (Surah, al-Bayyina, 98/4-5).

15 Why do we turn to the Ka’aba, that is, Masjid al-haram in prayers?

Muslims perform their salahs by turning to the Ka’aba bacause Allah ordered so. The aim is not to worship the Ka’aba, but to carry out the order of Allah. For example, in the early years of Islam, people performed their salahs by turning to the Masjid-al-Aqsa. Later, when Allah ordered Muslims to turn to the Ka’aba , they obeyed this order and turned to the Ka’aba.

The Ka’aba is not only the stone building there. The Ka’aba is like a luminous column extending from the underground to the sky. The intention of the pagans is to worship idols. The intention of the people turning to the Ka’aba is not to worship idols but to obey the order of Allah and to turn to the direction ordered.

The wisdom behind turning to the Ka’aba is to ensure that all Muslims turn to the same direction while performing salah. Just imagine that everyone turns to different directions when you go to the mosque; we cannot mention a unity. However, when all of them turn to one direction and when this salah is the one that is performed in congregation, we can understand the beauty of the unity and the integrity in the salah.

16 What is the benefit of performing only the Jumuah (Friday) prayer for a man who does not perform five daily prescribed prayers?

There is a rule as follows: "it is not true to leave the whole when something is not acquired completely." According to this rule, it is not true for a person to give up performing whole worships by thinking that he/she cannot perform worships totally.

A person receives the thawab (reward) of worships which are fard (obligatory) when he/she performs them; but he/she has been considered to have sinned when he/she fails to perform them without an excuse.

17 Is it permissible to recite surah al-Ikhlas between sunnah and fard of a salah (prayer ) in the mosque?

If one eats, drinks or goes shopping after performing sunnah and before performing fard, he/she should perform the sunnah again . For, sunnah prayers are connected to fard prayers. Giving a break by being engaged in wordly life means the person separates sunnah and fardh. It is all right to drink one sip or take a bite. They do not reduce the virtue of sunnah .

It is permissible to worship between fard prayers and sunnah prayers. (al-Khulasa; Fatawa al-Hindiyya)

Accordingly, it is all right to say prayers and read surah al-Ikhlas between them.

18 How the intention is made for the prayers missed (rendered qada) two-three years ago?

There is no need to determine time for prayers which were missed. As this is difficult, it is more appropriate to do the easier one. The following intention is made when a qada prayer is performed:

"I intend to perform the first zuhr (noon) prayer that I could not perform on time..." or "I intend to perform the last zuhr (noon) prayer that  I could not perform on time for the sake of Allah..." By this way, the missed prayers are started to be performed either from the first missed one or the last missed one; in both cases, the missed prayers are reduced by performing them in an order.

In order for it to be easier, it is also enough to intend as follows; "I'm performing the qada of a zuhr (noon) or asr (afternoon) prayer which is fard on me."

19 While performing salah, does making salutations before the imam invalidate the salah?

To sit so long as to read At-tahiyyatu means that you have performed the fard of the salah. For this reason, the salah of the person who makes salutations and leaves the salah after reading At-tahiyyatu without waiting for the imam to make salutations is abominably acceptable. For, it is wajib to follow the imam regarding the issue.

In other words, his/her salah is all right as he/she carries out the fard, but he/she commits a makruh because he/she makes salutations without waiting for the imam. And such a practice is not appropriate.

20 Will you please give information about the prayers of "Rabbana,..", which we recite in the last sitting of prayer (salah), and their meanings?

Reciting the prayers of "Rabbana atina" and "Rabbana'ghfirli" in the last sitting of prayers is sunnah. A person gains the reward (thawab) of sunnah by reciting these prayers. His/her prayer is not invalidated when he/she does not recite them. However, if a person does not recite them, he/she becomes deprived of the reward of sunnah. They are recited as follows:

The Prayer of Rabbenâ âtina:

"Rabbana atina fi'd-dunya hasanatan wa fi'l-akhirati hasanatan wa qina adhaba'n-nar." (al Baqara, 2/201)

Its Translation: "Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of the fire."

The Prayer of Rabbana-ghfirli:

"Rabbana, ighfir li wali walidayya wa lil mu'minina yawma yaqumu'l-hisab." (Ibrahim 14/41)

Its Translation: "O our Lord! cover (us) with Thy Forgiveness― me, my parents, and (all) Believers, on the Day that the Reckoning will be established!"

21 Can we perform Fajr (dawn prayer) as soon as imsak time starts?

Fajr time starts by the time imsak starts and it ends with sunrise. According to Hanafi madhhab (school of law), it is better to pray it towards sunrise. According to Shafii madhhab (school of law), it is better to pray it soon after dawn.

If the sun rises during the prayer, it becomes invalid. According to Hanafi madhhab, it has to be performed after karahah time.

If a person who has not performed Fajr on time performs it  after sunrise and before Zuhr (the noon prayer), he needs to perform both its sunnah and fardh.

22 How is mash (wiping) performed?

It is fard to wipe one fourth of the head. The Messenger of Allah wiped above the forehead, that is, the front part of the head. Therefore, it is sunnah to wipe the front part of the head. However, any part of the head can be wiped as long as it is not less than one-fourth of the head and the part below the ears is not wiped. For, the place to be wiped on the head is the part of above the two ears. If one-fourth of any side of this part is wiped, the mash is alright.

23 I reluctantly perform my daily prayers; Are they accepted by Allah? Even though I prompt myself to do the opposite, something always tells me to delay the prayers or to perform the fards only...

There are some reasons for our unwillingness to perform worship:

1. It may be because we do not comprehend the value and significance of our worship properly. It is necessary to benefit from works that tell about the essence of worship regarding this issue.

2. The places in which we live may be spiritually awful. As a matter of fact,  our sense of smell is disturbed when a carcass is near. Just like this, as our spirit is affected negatively in places where harams are performed mostly, we may not get pleasure from worship.

3. A sick man cannot get pleasure in full from what he/she eats. For example, someone whose tongue has a sore cannot get the taste of the food that he/she eats. Then he must be treated. Similarly, we wound our hearts and souls and make them sick with the sins that we commit. So we cannot get pleasure fully while we perform worship, which is the nutrient of the spirit. That is why we need to have treatment. The treatment of souls is achieved firstly with repentance and asking for forgiveness and then avoiding committing sins again.

There is an important issue here: A sick person cannot get pleasure from the foods that he eats but he continues to eat and drink. For, he must feed himself. Similarly, we must continue to worship though we do not get pleasure. For, our soul needs nourishment. Inshallah, we will start to get pleasure from them in time and our worship will protect us from sins.

24 Is it permissible to pray with a wudu (ablution) which is performed disorderly: assuming that we wash one of the parts of wudu once, the other twice and an another one thrice?

What is fard (obligatory) is to wash the wudu parts and the number of washing these parts and in what way they are washed is not an obstacle for the validity of wudu.

However, washing the parts of wudu in order and three times is sunnah.

25 While performing wudu, I forget whether I have made niyyah or not and I make niyyah again. What can I do to get rid of this?

According to the Hanafi madhhab, it is sunnah to make niyyah (intention) in wudu. Your wudu is valid even if you do not make niyyah. So, it is unnecessary to make waswasa (groundless worry). After making niyyah at the beginning, if a waswasa comes to your mind like “whether I have made niyyah or not”, continue performing wudu without making niyyah again. By this way, the waswasa will disappear in a short time.

It is fard to make niyyah in salah. Nevertheless, it is not necessary to doubt “whether I have made niyyah or not” because of the waswasa.

We must also pay attention to this point: The place of niyyah is the heart. From this point of view, if someone makes his/her niyyah in the heart correctly, his/her niyyah becomes valid. For example, if someone -who is performing the noon salah- makes his/her niyyah to perform the noon salah in the heart and to perform the  afternoon salah verbally, his/her salah is valid as the niyyah made from the heart is valid.

Niyyah means that the heart decides to do something and knows for what this work is being done without thinking. Niyyah in relation with salah means that the person wishes to perform his/her salah only for the sake of Allah, and he/she knows and considers which salah he/she is about to perform. Niyyah belongs to the heart. However, it is regarded better to make niyyah verbally too.

26 In what case does Allah not accept a salah performed by a person?

“Allah does not accept any deeds apart from those done only for His own sake.” (Nasai, Jihad, 24)

In accordance with this hadith, it is useful to explain the issue in some items.

Ibadah (worship) has a formal aspect and an internal aspect.

As is known, fiqh gives judgment by looking at the zahiri (apparent) aspects of deeds and behavior. It is not interested in batini (internal) aspects of them.

“We give judgment according to the apparent aspect of a deed; we refer the internal aspect to Allah.”

It acts in accordance with the principle above. This means:

Fiqh makes a decision whether a fard is valid or not bylooking its conditions admitted by ilm (scholarly knowledge). It is not and cannot be interested in the internal aspect of a deed, which is not known by people.

For example, fiqh decides that a salah is valid if it is performed in accordance with its conditions. However, this decision cannot know if it is acceptable in terms of good-bad niyyah of the salah, which is secret, and it cannot give judgment on that issue. Drawing attention to pharisaism described as shirkal-khafiyy in hadiths is not for the fiqh aspect of the deed but to the assessment in the eye of Allah.

For example, a qadi – by looking at shari’ah’s zahiri aspects - demands someone to perform his/her salah again if he sees that he/she has not fulfilled a condition of the salah; however, he cannot demand him/her to perform the salah again by alleging that he/she shows off  in the salah whose conditions are fulfilled.

As a matter of fact, there are narratives indicating that Prophet Muhammad demanded some people who did not pray in accordance with ta’dil al-arkan to perform their salahs again – once he demanded this three times. For, the apparent aspect of the rule is violated here. However, he did not demand munafiqs to perform their salahs again, who performed their salahs in accordance with the external conditions of salah and in fact who did not even believe that salah was fard though he knew about them. For, this matter is hidden; it is a secret that remains between Allah and the person. A qadi cannot treat them as “tariku’s-salas/ the ones who abandon salah”

Certainly, Allah will give the judgment in the other world and will invalidate all of the ibadah (worship) of munafiqs. This is the explanation of the narratives mentioned in some hadiths and meaning “Allah does not accept any deeds apart from those done only for His own sake.”

The sum of the subject is as follows: According to Islam, the one who is in fact a kafir (unbeliever) secretly but tells that he/she is a mu’min (believer) verbally is treated as a mu’min in the world. He/she is treated as a kafir in the other world. The person who performs his/her salah in accordance with the rules, is assessed as a mu’min who has performed his/her salah in the world. If he/she has performed his/her salah just for show off, he is treated as someone who has not performed his/her salah in the afterworld. In a sacred hadith reported by Abu Huraira from the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), this reality is indicated:

“Allah says, 'I am the One, One Who does not stand in need of a partner. If anyone does anything in which he associates anyone else with Me, I shall abandon him with one whom he associates with Allah (Muslim, Zuhd, 46).

According to Imam Nawawi,  the meaning of this hadith is as follows: the deeds of the one who worships only for show off will not be accepted; he/she will gain sins –let alone gaining thawabs. (The explanation of the relevant hadith, Nawawi)

It is necessary to carry out the fards of the ibadah fully if we want them to be valid formally. For example, if the sajdah which is a fard is not performed while performing salah, the salah does not become valid.

27 Should we say Amin silently or loudly after the recital of the chapter al-Fatiha in prayers?

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) specifically ordered to say "amin" after the recitation of al Fatiha in prayers. It is as follows:

"When the Imam says 'Amin' after reciting al Fatiha, you should all say 'Amin', He whose 'Amin' coincides with the 'Amin' of the angels, all his past sins will be forgiven." (Muslim, K. Salat, 72; Abu Dawud, Salat, 167-168; Tirmidhi, Mawaqitus- Salat, 116).

According to this hadith, it is sunnah to say "amin" after the recitation of al Fatiha.

According to Imam Azam, it is sunnah to say "amin" silently both by the imam and jamaah (congregation); and according to Imam Shafii and Ahmad b. Hanbal, it is sunnah to say it explicitly and with the imam. (Sunan Abu Dawud Translation and its commentary, Istanbul 1988, III/470-474).

28 Is there any wisdom behind the number of rak'ahs of prayers?

The quantity and number of prayers and worships are determined completely according to the will and wish of Allah.

There are two kinds of decrees of shari'ah:

1. The decrees and prohibitions that come directly from Allah; we call them “taabbudi”, that is to say, their reasons (wisdom) are not known.

2. The part whose reasons (wisdom) that lay on the divine decrees and prohibitions may be searched about; we call them “maqul al-mana”.

We can look at your question from a different aspect. "Why is the morning prayer four rak'ahs but not ten or twenty rak'ahs?" The answer is "because Allah commanded us to do so." The noon prayer was determined by Allah as 10 rak'ahs. To search the wisdom behind it will turn out to be in vain. The real answer to the question is because Allah commanded so. However, some shari'ah rules may be explained with wisdom, but they are not the real reasons. The actual reason is Allah’s command and prohibition.

For example, "Why did Allah command salah (prayer)?" One can list the wisdoms and purposes of it in volumes of books. One can answer why we fast by searching its wisdom and reasons. However, reasons (wisdom) and benefits cannot replace Allah’s decrees.

For example, one of the reasons of fasting is to empathize with the people who suffer hunger and approach them with compassion.So, a person can say “I will experience more hunger so that my feeling of compassion can be increased and I can help the poor much more.” Although the time of imsak (the time to begin fasting) is at 4.00 a.m., if one intends to start fasting at 11 o’clock at night, but if he breaks his fast 5 minutes before iftar (the breaking of fast at sunset), can his fast be acceptable? Certainly not. There is a determined time to break the fast.  And although that person stays hungry longer, his fast is not accepted. That is to say, the wisdom that required for fasting is applied (by staying hungry), but because of breaking the fast at a time that Allah does not permit, this fast is not accepted.

Thus, we should look at the all of the decrees and prohibitions in this way. That is to say, we do it because Allah ordered us to do so. Certainly, there may be reasons (wisdom) behind it, too. And these reasons can be searched. It is also knowledge and worship. However, wisdoms and benefits are definitely not the actual reasons, but details.

For example, alcohol, gambling, dirty animal meat and bribery are rendered haram. Human reason can apprehend the illegitimacy of them. If the significance of rules such as tayammum (dry ablution) and the number of rak'ahs of prayers and its manner cannot be known by reason, they cannot be the subject of comparison. According to Abu Hanifa, the meaning of all ruling verses and hadiths can be comprehended by reason and their causes can be understood. However, worships that are proved as taabbudi are exempted from this. When the lawful reasons of worships and rules cannot be apprehended, it cannot be claimed that they have no wisdom or benefit. There is no doubt that they have wisdom and benefits; however, human reason has no ability to practice the suchlike by understanding the reasons within them. (M. Abu Zahra, Usul fıqh, Darul Fikri'l-Arabi, n.d., p. 234)

For example, you have an email and a password. When you enter that password incorrectly, you will not be able to see your email inbox. Likewise, in order to reveal some divine secrets, certain number of tasbih (glorification), salawat must be recited and definite rak'ahs of certain prayers must be performed; otherwise, it is not possible to attain that divine secret if this number is not deferred intentionally. But if this is not fulfilled by mistake; the mercy of Allah will accept your worship since this is a different issue.

29 Does reading the surahs, verses and prayers by looking at a paper invalidate the salah?

Reading the suras, ayahs and prayers by looking at a paper in the salah or reading the ayahs written on the wall makes the salah invalid. For this reason, we must stay away from such a deed.

Reading a verse wrongly in the salah makes it invalid. However, there is no need to worry about it. You can perform the salah again. You should try to perform the salah by reading the ayahs that you know best.

30 While a woman prays, to what extent of uncovering her arms and wrists invalidate the prayer?

Uncovering less than 1/4 of  a body part which needs to be covered does not invalidate the prayer. However, any uncovering which is more than 1/4 is an obstacle for the prayer. If a part of awrah is uncovered during the prayer and it is covered without any delay, the prayer is not invalidated. However, if it is uncovered in the length of rukn (part) of the prayer, that is, covered after waiting long enough to say "subhanallah" three times, the prayer is invalidated. The deed of covering should be performed with one hand. Things that are performed with two hands are regarded to be amal kathir (major action) and they invalidate the prayer.

31 Does a person who realizes after performing a prayer that there is a substance on his/her skin which is an obstacle for the validity of wudu (ablution) have to repeat his/her prayer?

A person who realizes after performing a prayer that there is a substance on his/her skin which is an obstacle for the validity of wudu should perform the prayer again by making wudu again if its time has not passed. If its time has passed, then he/she should perform the qada of that prayer.

32 Is it permissible to recite duas (prayer) other than the dua of Subhanaka in prayers? Is it permissible to recite different duas instead of Subhanaka when we start the prayer after uttering the opening takbir? Which duas did the Prophet use to recite?

According to the majority of scholars, it is sunnah to recite the dua of istiftah after uttering iftihah takbir (the opening takbir). According to the sects of Hanafi and Hanbali, the preferred dua is the "Subhanaka prayer." The scholars of these two sects said: "Since it is more virtuous to recite this dua which comes certainly from the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), it is necessary to prefer reciting this dua."

According to the hadith which is narrated by Hz. Aisha (RA), "When the prophet (PBUH) started to pray, he used to say, "Subhanaka’llahumma wa bi-hamdik. Wa tabaraka’smuk. Wa ta‘ala jadduk. Wa la ilaha ghayruk." 1


1. This hadith is narrated by Abu Dawud. There is a similar hadith narration of Daraqutni from Anas. Five hadith Imams narrated a similar hadith from Abu Said. Muslim, in his Sahih, narrated that Hz. Umar (RA) used to recite this openly. Naylul Awtar II/195.

33 I cannot prevent the thoughts that come to my mind while praying. What should I do?

What is ideal is to perform prayers as if seeing Allah and having the consciousness of being in the presence of Him at any moment. However, this may not be possible all the time. Man is not responsible for the thoughts that come to his mind during prayers.

34 When is the exact time of the Jumuah (Friday) prayer?

The time of the zuhr (noon) prayer is also the time of the Jumuah (Friday) prayer.

The Friday prayer is performed within the time of the zuhr prayer.

35 How did people use to perform salah or worship before Mi’raj?

Salah was made fard at the night of Mi’raj (Ascension) one and a half year before the hegira (Migration). According to the narration from Malik Ibn Anas, he stated the following in brief:

“Salah was made fard as fifty times for our Prophet (s.a.w) on Isra night. Then, it was shortened and reduced to five. Then, he was addressed as follows: “O! Muhammad! Undoubtedly, our word cannot be changed. These five times salahs are equivalent to fifty times salahs for you.” (Bukhari, Salat, 76, al-Anbiya, 5; Muslim, Iman, 263 Ahmad ibn Hanbal, V,122,143).

It is definite in this verse that each good deed is rewarded with its tenfold:

“Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit.” (al-Anaam, 6/160; see also an-Naml, 27/89; al-Qasas 28/84).

Before performing five daily salahs, the worship of our Prophet (s.a.w) was in the form of contemplating the creatures of Allah and considering the supremacy of Allah. It is narrated that he used to perform two rak’ahs in the morning and in the evening.

There was salah for the previous ummahs, too. We can give the following examples from the Qur’an: The Prophet Luqman orders his son to perform salah (Luqman, 31/17), the Prophet Ibraham mentions about salah while making dua for the security of the Hejaz (Ibrahim,14/37), Allah Ta’ala wants Prophet Moses to perform salah during the first divine inspiration (Taha, 20/14).

36 Is Salah (Prayer) a debt?

Here are the statements of the Qur'an on the issue:

- "Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan, which Allah will double unto his credit and multiply many times?" (al-Baqara, 2/245)

- "If ye (but) establish regular prayers, practise regular charity, believe in My Messengers honour and assist them, and loan to Allah a beautiful loan, verily I will wipe out from you your evils and admit you to Gardens with rivers flowing beneath." (al-Maeda, 5/12)

- "Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful Loan? For (Allah) will increase it manifold to his credit and he will have (besides) a liberal reward." (al-Hadid, 57/11)

- "For those who give in Charity, men and women, and loan to Allah a Beautiful Loan, it shall be increased manifold (to their credit) and they shall have (besides) a liberal reward." (al-Hadid, 57/18)

- "If ye loan to Allah a beautiful loan He will double it to your (credit), and He will grant you Forgiveness: for Allah is most Ready to appreciate (service) Most Forbearing―" (at-Taghabun, 64/17)

One of the meanings of prayer is shukr (giving thanks to Allah). Shukr is not a debt for the benefactions of the future but for the previous ones.

37 Do I become a kafir (unbeliever), if I do not perform a prayer on time when it is due though I have enough time and say "I will perform it later as qada (compensation)"?

Deliberately missing a prayer does not make someone an unbeliever but in such a situation he/she becomes a sinner. It is not true to miss a prayer without an excuse. It is very important to perform prayers on time.

38 How is the iqama (the second call to prayer, given immediately before the prayer begins) recited?

The words of iqama according to the Sunnah are as follows:

"Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar. Ashhadu an la ilaha illa’llah, Ashhadu an la ilaha illa’llah. Ashhadu anna Muhammadan Rasululu’llah, Ashhadu anna Muhammadan Rasululu’llah. Hayya ‘ala’s-salah, Hayya ‘ala’s-salah. Hayya ‘ala’l-falah, Hayya ‘ala’l-falah. Qad qamati’s-salah, Qad qamati’s-salah. Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar. La ilaha illa’llah."

The English meaning of Iqama is as follows:

"Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest.
I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah, I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger, I bear witness that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger. Come to prayer, Come prayer. Come to salvation, Come to salvation. The prayer has started, the prayer has started. Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest. I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah."

39 Does forgetting to recite Qunut supplications in the witr prayer necessitate sajdah as-sahw?

While performing the witr prayer, forgetting to utter takbir (Allah-u Akbar) in the third rakat and reciting Qunut supplications necessitate sajdah as-sahw. (prostration of forgetfulness)

If a person remembers this in ruku (bowing), he straightens up but does not recite Qunut supplications. He only performs sajdah as-sahw at the end of the prayer.

40 If a man who is married does not perform jumu’ah (Friday prayer) three times on end, does his nikah (marriage) become invalid?

Not performing jumu'ah is a major sin. A person who commits a major sin does not become an unbeliever but he becomes a sinner.

We do not know any hadiths mentioning that the nikah (marriage) of a person who does not perform Friday prayer becomes invalid.

41 Is it true that we cannot perform prayers for 40 days after drinking alcohol?

One cannot perform the prayers while drunken. However, there is no verse in the Qur'an stateing that the person who drinks alcohol cannot perform prayers for forty days. However, in some hadiths (sayings of the Prophet), there are expressions stating that the believers who drink alcohol or perpetrate other sins will have fewer rewards for worships such as obligatory prayers. Our Prophet encouraged people to be more alert by making such warnings so that they would avoid grave sins like alcohol. (Tirmidhi, Ashriba, 1; Ibn Maja, Ashriba, 9; Nasai, Ashriba, 45,49)

Ibadah (worship) has several aspects:

- The slave (of Allah; human) becomes qualified for Paradise through worship. In other words, out of copper, s/he becomes silver and gold.

- S/he fulfills his/her obligations toward Allah.

- Goodness brings about goodness and a circle of goodness forms, which encourages the love for worship and obedience in humans; and it goes on like that.

While there are narrations stating that the reward of the worships for those who drink alcohol and commit sins will be reduced; there is no clear reliable source (from the Qur'an or the Sunnah of the Prophet) stateing that s/he must compensate for the prayers that s/he performed while drunken; there is no verse invalidated by another verse, or a weak narration corroborating that.

- A person improves his health by doing exercise; similarly, one acquires love for worship through prayers. However, when s/he performs prayer, a person who drank alcohol is not equal to the person who does not ever drink alcohol; the former lacks in pleasure s/he takes from his/her prayer. Therefore, there is no religious basis for saying “the person who drank alcohol cannot perform the obligatory prayers for forty days.”; yet, we should not forget the effect of drinking alcohol mentioned above.

A similitude for that is as follows: If a person lays a foundation for a building, puts up a wall but if he does not build the roof, the house is unfinished. Similarly, if somebody who drinks alcohol or who earns his/her livelihood through unlawful means, gets ablution and performs the obligatory prayers, then s/he fulfills his/her duty and acquires the reward attached to it, but the roof of the building is still missing. When it is built, Allah's favor will be reflected on him/her.

Besides, it is not appropriate not to perform the obligatory prayers for 40 days because s/he drank alcohol or committed another sin. At most, the reward of the prayers for the person who drinks alcohol will be reduced. On the other hand, the person who drinks alcohol or who commits another sin does not become an unbeliever; s/he becomes sinful. Actually, the Muslim who performs his/her five daily prayers will not commit such grave sins as alcohol.

Performing prayers while still drunken, though, is haram (forbidden). Only after the state of intoxication ends, should s/he perform his/her prayers.

42 Is it permissible to perform qada (compensation) prayers after the prayer of Maghrib (the evening prayer)?

It is permissible to perform qada (compensation) prayers after the prayer of Maghrib (the evening prayer).

There is no specific time and place for qada prayers. That is, there is no such a rule that the qada of Asr (afternoon) prayer can only be performed within the time of mid-afternoon. It can be offered any time. However, one should pay attention not to offer any prayers within the time periods that are called karahah. The first one of these times is the period beginning from the time when the sun rises till it raises a spear length (five degrees). In our country, it is between forty and fifty minutes after the sun rises.The second one is the time when the sun is at its zenith point (zawal). It is the period of 30-40 minutes before the time for the noon prayer starts.The third one is the period beginning from the time when the sun begins to turn yellow and when its light does not dazzle man to the time when it sets. It is the period of 45 minutes before the evening prayer. It is not regarded nice to perform prayers at these times.

Besides, there is no time limit for qada (compensation) prayers; a person can perform as many prayers as he desires.

43 Is it all right to say prayers while the imam is reciting while leading a prayer to the congregation ? For example can one pray by saying, “O Allah forgive me“?

People should keep quiet both physically and orally in prayers in congregation. It is permissible to think about the meanings of ayahs (verses) while the imam reads aloud or silently.

In addition, if a person says prayers aloud or silently when the the imam reads aloud or silently, his prayer becomes invalid. However, if he just thinks about it, the prayer is valid.

44 Should a woman perform salah (prayer) in a place where there are men? Or should she postpone it and perform it later?

Women or men can perform qada in any place where there is no impurity. However, it is better to perform salah (prayer ) in a simple, quite, peaceful place. This is more important especially for women. However, salah can be performed anywhere if the place is clean. If there exists the risk of missing a prayer, a woman must perform that prayer even if there are men there; she must not miss it.

45 I have pimples that constantly bleed and don't disappear; what is the status of my prayers? Is the blood and its stains najis (dirty)?

If you are certainly sure that there is no bleeding after you perform wudu (ablution), then you can perform your prayer with that wudu. However, when you see the stains of blood on the undershirt and do not know when it bled, you must make wudu again. Since this is repeated constantly, it is appropriate for you to make wudu for every prescribed prayer just like an excused person.

According to Hanafis:

The blood is najasah ghalizah (heavy najasah) and when it spreads over an area more than the palm of the hand, it becomes an obstacle for the prayer. However, if the blood spreads over an area less than the palm of the hand, it does not become an obstacle for the prayer. If the total amount of the blood stains on your undershirt covers more than an area of a palm of the hand, then it becomes an obstacle for the prayer so the undershirt must be washed; if it is less, it is not an obstacle and there is no need to wash the undershirt.

The definite view of Shafiis about this issue is as follows:

The pimple blood, the flea blood, the excrement of a fly, the fluid that comes from a wound and burnt or odor (odorless) fluid of smallpox (the accurate opinion) and more or less fluid that flows from a blood vessel burst and the place of hijama (blood cupping) is clean. And the accurate opinion is that the blood that comes out from human and returns to him is also clean.

A washed cloth is considered clean though stains of najasah (dirt) remains on it. The visible dirtiness is cleaned by washing with water until their marks (color, odor and materials) are removed. According to the preferred view, if the dirtiness is completely cleaned with one time washing, there is no need to wash it again. If the color of dirtiness cannot be removed, that material is washed until clean water flows over it. That is, if the water which is poured over on a cloth flows colorless, that stain is considered clean. The blood stain which is not removed is just like this.

46 If the environment in which we are musafir (traveler) is comfortable, is there any objection for performing prayers in full? Which one is better; performing prayers fully or shortening them?

According to the sect of Hanafi, it is wajib (obligatory) for a musafir (traveler) person to shorten his/her prayers. For this reason, it is necessary for a person who is musafir to shorten his/her prayers. It is better to shorten prayers while travelling even if the environment and conditions are comfortable.

There are two different views as to when someone becomes a musafir:

1- Those considering the distance. According to that view, if a person travels to a distance of 90 km, he shortens his prayers because he is regarded a musafir.

2- Those considering the time. According to them, a three-day journey makes a person musafir. They can only shorten their prayers then. Otherwise, they cannot shorten their prayers.

According to Hanafis, a musafir has to shorten the four-rak'ah fard prayers to two rak'ahs. However, if he prays it as four, it is valid. According to Shafiis, it is better to pray fully even if one is a musafir.

47 Can janaza salah be performed without wudu?

All fard, wajib, sunnah and mustahab salahs including janaza salah can only be performed after performing wudu.If there is no water, or there are some obstacles that prevent using it, tayammum is performed and this is regarded as a spiritual cleaning meaning wudu.

“Janaza salah is a prayer (dua) rather than a salah, and so it can be performed without wudu.” If there are people uttering the previous statement, they do not understand that salah is a prayer and a dhikr from start to finish.

The religion that orders its followers to perform five daily obligatory salahs by performing ruku and sajda, orders to perform janaza salah without performing ruku and sajda. However, it calls both of them salah and wants wudu for both of them.

48 Is it permissible to read a surah a few times in the salah?

If an ayah is repeated in a salah or a sura is read twice in a rak’ah or a sura is read in two rak’ahs, the following is considered: If the salah performed alone is a nafilah salah, it is not makruh. However, if it is a fard salah, it is makruh unless someone forgets or if he does not know any other suras.

49 Is it permissible to perform fard (obligatory) prayers during Karahah times?

The time for the morning prayer starts with imsak (abstinence) and ends with sunrise. However, according to Hanafis, it is more appropriate to perform it near sunrise and according to Shafiis it is more appropriate to perform it a little while after imsak.

According to Hanafis, if the sun rises while performing the prayer and before finishing it, the prayer is invalidated; it becomes necessary to perform it after the time of karahah.

A person who fails to perform the fajr (morning prayer) on time should perform both its sunnah and fard; if he performs it after sunrise and after the karahah time ends.     

If the asr (afternoon prayer) is delayed up to the time of karahah, the prayer is not skipped, and only its fard is performed, the sunnah is not. And even if the takbir of iftitah (opening) is uttered just before sunset and the sun sets while performing the prayer, the prayer becomes valid. The prayer is not considered as missed (qada) and it is considered to have been performed on time. This is a state peculiar to the asr prayer.

50 Is there any objection to praying the sunnahs of the prayer at home and its fard at mosque? If some time passes between the fard and sunnah, will this be a hindrance for the prayer?

There are hadiths encouraging people to perform nafilahs (supererogatory prayers) that is, the sunnahs of prayers at home. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who said,

"Do not turn your homes into graves",

stated the following hadith expressing that it is more virtuous to perform nafilah prayers at home.

"Except the fard prayer, the most favorable prayer of a person is the one that he performs at his home."(Muslim, Salatul-Müsafirin; 212-213)

Though the custom of performing the sunnah prayer at home and fard at mosque with jamaah (congregation) is practiced in some places, it is not possible for everyone and all the time; so both the sunnah and fard are practiced at mosque in general. When sunnahs are performed at home, a mustahab (recommended) practice of the Prophet (PBUH) is fulfilled and a thawab (reward) is gained for it. However, when both are performed at mosque, there is no objection to it.

51 When was salah (daily prayer) rendered fard for the first time?

There were no five daily prayers (salah) in previous religions. However, there was salah with unspecified times in general terms. Salah was rendered fard in the night of Mir'aj (Ascension) one and a half years ago before Hijra (Migration). As a summary, the following is said according to the riwayah of Anas b. Malik:

"The prophet (PBUH) was enjoined fifty prayers on the night of Isra. Then, it was reduced to five prayers. Then, the Prophet was addressed as follows: "O Muhammad! These are five prayers for you and they are all (equal to) fifty (in reward) for My Word does not change." (Bukhari, Salah, 76. Anbiya, 5; Muslim, Belief, 263; Ahmad b. Hanbal, V, 122, 143).  

That verse tells us that it will be given tenfold reward for a good deed we do:

"He who brings a good deed shall have tenfold of its like," (al-Anam 6/160; see an-Naml, 27/89; al-Qasas, 28/84).

Before the five daily prayers became fard, the worship of the Prophet was to think on Allah's Glory and what He created. It is also said that the Prophet performed two daily salahs, one in the morning and one in the evening, each of which contained two rakahs.

The previous ummahs also performed salah. We can give examples of it; for instance, Luqman ordered his son to perform salah (Luqman, 31/17);  Abraham mentioned salah while praying for the security of Hejaz (Abraham, 14/37), that Allah wanted Moses to perform salah (Taha, 20/14) during the first revelation in the mount of Tur.

That salah must be performed is based on the Qur'an, Sunnah, and Ijma (consensus).

The following is stated in many places in the Qur'an "Perform Salah and give zakah".

"Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers Especially the middle prayer" (al-Baqarah, 2/238).

"Then, when you are secure, establish the prayer; surely, prayer is timely written upon the believer." (an-Nisa, 4/103).

"Yet they were ordered to worship Allah alone, making the Religion His sincerely, upright, and to establish their prayers and to pay the obligatory charity. That is indeed the Religion of Straightness." (al-Bayyina, 98/5).

"Establish the prayer and pay the obligatory charity and hold fast to Allah. He is your Guardian, the Excellent Guardian, and the Excellent Helper" (al-Hajj, 22/78).

Evidence from the Sunnah: there are many hadiths reported about that issue. Some of those hadiths are as follows: Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Allah's Messenger said:

"Islam is based on (the following) five (principles): To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Messenger, to offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly, to pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity), to perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Makkah), to observe fast during the month of Ramadan." (Bukhari, Faith,1; Muslim, Faith, 19-22).

When Allah's Messenger (p.b.u.h) sent Muadh to Yemen, he said (to him),

"You are going to the people of a (Divine) Book. First of all, invite them to worship Allah (alone) and when they come to know Allah, inform them that Allah has enjoined on them, five prayers every day and night; and if they start offering these prayers, inform them that Allah has enjoined on them, the Zakat. And it is to be taken from the rich amongst them and given to the poor amongst them; and if they obey you in that, take Zakat from them and avoid (do not take) the best property of the people as Zakat. Avoid the curse of the oppressed, because it reaches Allah directly." (Bukhari, Zakat, 41, 63, Maghazi, 60, Tawhid, 1; Nasai, Zakat, 1; Darimi, Zakat, 1).

On the other hand, the people of Islam have consensus that the five daily prayers became fard on a night and day.

Salah is fard for every Muslim who reaches the age of puberty and who is sane. However, children who are seven years old are also ordered to perform salah. When they reach the age of ten, if they do not perform salah, they can be beaten softly by hand. The Prophet said:

"Command your children to pray when they become seven years old, and beat them for it (prayer) when they become ten years old; and arrange their beds (to sleep) separately." (Abu Dawud, Salah, 26; Ahmad bin Hanbal, II, 180, 187).

The number of prayers which are fard on a day and night is five. Only witr and the festival (Eid) prayers are wajib. The following hadith reported about a Bedouin is the evidence of the five daily and fard prayers:

"The number of prayers which are fard on a day and night is five." The Bedouin asked; "Do I have more debt than that?"; the Messenger of Allah said :

"No, but you can perform nafilah (supererogatory) prayers". Upon that, the Bedouin said: "By Him Who sent you with the Truth, I would neither make any addition to them nor would I diminish anything out of them". And the Prophet said : "If he does what he says, he will enter Paradise" (Bukhari, Belief, 34, Shahadah, 26; Muslim, Belief, 8, 10, 15, 17, 18; Abu Dawud, Salah, 1).

52 Is it necessary to perform the sunnah prayers of the asr (afternoon) and isha (night) prayers all the time?

The sunnah prayers of the asr (afternoon) and isha (night) are non muakkad sunnahs; that is, they are not the continuous practices of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) but the sunnahs that he sometimes used to do and sometimes gave up. Practicing them are very rewarding (thawab) but giving them up is not a sin.

53 What is the meaning of qira'ah with the tongue? Does someone performing salah alone have to hear slightly what he/she reads? Is it not valid if the lips do not move?

It is not regarded as reading (qir'ah) to read Fatiha or other surahs in the mind without moving the tongue and producing a sound; that is, by doing so, qira'ah that is a rukn of salah is not fulfilled. Someone needs to read with a voice that can be heard by himself/herself, by pronouncing the letters in such a way that will not disturb the people around if there are any.

It is essential for the tongue to move in qira'ah. When the tongue moves, naturally the lips will move, too.

54 Is it necessary to perform the prayer again if there is blood on our clothes?

1. When a person sees blood on his/her clothes, the following must be checked: if the blood does not cover an area more than the palm of the hand and it is certain that it did not come from the body, the prayer is valid. If that blood came from the body, he/she must perform all of the prayers he/sheperformed after the last wudu (ablution).

2. If he/she sees heavy dirt more than the amount of a dirham on his/her clothes but does not know for sure when it smeared, he/she does not perform any prayer again. There is consensus on it. This id also the soundest view. (al Muhit / Sarakhsi - al Jawharatun- Nayyira)

(Celal Yıldırım, İslam Fıkhı)

55 With what level of voice should we recite surahs during a prayer?

During prayer, we need to recite surahs loud enough to be heard by ourselves; we should not raise our voice in a way that is hearable by the people near us.

What is important here is to pronounce surahs with the tongue and be aware of our pronunciation. There is no such a rule stating that the voice must come to our ear. There is no need to increase our voice just because we cannot hear it when there is a noise at outside. It is necessary to recite with a low voice that is hearable by us under normal circumstances of a quiet environment. No one around us is disturbed by this voice.

56 Does a person who does not perform prayers get the thawab (reward) of the good deeds that he does?

A person who does not offer prayers will get reward from good deeds that he/she does. The existence of a sin is not an obstacle to other thawabs (rewards). The punishment of not offering prayers is different and the thawab of other deeds is different. Thawabs and sins are evaluated discretely.

A person who does not perform prayers get the thawab of the sadaqa (alms) that he gives even if he commits major sins. What is important is to have belief. It is possible that Allah will give salvation to the person for the deed, a goodness which is thought to be small; and due to that deed, he may start performing prayers.

No one knows where the consent and wrath of Allah is hidden. Thus, it is necessary not to underestimate or rely upon any deed.

57 Could a person who drinks alcohol perform prayers?

Allah made performing prayers fard (obligatory) and rendered drinking alcohol haram. While not performing prayers is haram, drinking alcohol is also haram.

Thus, a person who does not perform prayers but drinks alcohol is considered to have committed two kinds of sins. However, if the person who drinks alcohol performs his/her prayers, he is considered to have reduced his/her sin to one and saves himself/herself from the sin of not performing prayers.

In fact, what befits a Muslim is to perform his/her prayers and give up alcohol, which is rendered haram by Allah.

58 Is it permissible to perform prayers on prayer rugs (sajjada) that have pictures of the Kaaba the Great, al-Masjid an-Nabawi (the Prophet's Mosque), al-Aqsa Mosque and other mosques?

It is permissible to perform prayers on prayer rugs that have pictures of the Kaaba the Great, al-Masjid an-Nabawi (the Prophet's Mosque), al-Aqsa Mosque and other mosques. The part where the pictures exist is on the place of prostration. However, in order to show respect, one should not put his feet over these pictures.

It is not appropriate to lay down prayer rugs on which verses are written and perform prayers on them. For, laying down and putting a piece of the Qur'an below the level of navel even if  it has a single verse is contrary to our respect to the Qur'an. For this reason, it is objectionable to perform prayers on such prayer rugs.

There is no objection to laying down rugs and performing prayers on rugs on which something (other than verses or hadiths) is written in Arabic.

(Mehmed PAKSU, Aileye Özel Fetvalar)

59 I can’t keep the continuity in performing salah. What do you advise? I am under psychological pressure in these days; I have undergone many things and still I am undergoing. What do you advise me?

The things about servitude like performing salah, intending to read the Qur’an, trying to avoid sins are completely related to the consciousness of servitude. For, the love and enthusiasm of worshipping arise in the heart of those people who know that they are absolutely weak, poor and frail; on the other hand, Allah has the absolute might and will that will remove all of their needs and troubles.

Think that someone meets your needs at a time when you are in need of help the most. You, as a human, must thank him/her. In the same way, this person shows mercy at the time of trouble; do you not need to be respectful to him/her?

Likewise, the person who knows that worshipping our Lord -who created our organs out of nothing, gets the universe and all the existences to serve for us, meets all our needs and shows mercy to us more than ourselves -  is such a serious an action and that it fits humanity, would like to spend all the minutes of his/her life worshipping let alone avoiding worshipping.

There are some reasons of being unwilling for worshipping.

It may be because we cannot understand the value and the preciousness of our worshipping. We should get help from some books telling about the essence of worshipping.

2. The atmosphere that we are in may be very bad in terms of morality. As a matter of fact, we get disturbed in a place in which there is carrion. Likewise, we may not get pleasure from worshipping as our souls get disturbed in a place where harams are committed too much.

3. An ill person cannot enjoy what he/she eats and drinks. For example, someone who has a wound on his/her tounge, cannot enjoy the taste of his/her meal. So, he/she must be treated.

And we make our hearts and our souls ill by committing sins. For this reason, we cannot take pleasure from worshipping that is food for our souls. Therefore, it is necessary to receive treatment. The treatment of the soul is first to repent and then to try hard not to commit sins again.

There is another important point here: An ill person cannot enjoy the food that he/she eats, but still he/she goes on eating and drinking. For, he is obliged to take food. And we must go on worshipping even if we do not get pleasure. Four, our soul needs nourishment. Inshaallah we will start taking pleasure in time and the worship we perform will save us from sins.

60 When the time for zuhr (noon) comes, is only the missed fard qada of fajr (morning prayer) performed or is the sunnah of it performed as well?

The time for the morning prayer begins with the first light of the dawn and ends with the rising of the sun. However, according to Hanafis, it is recommended to pray the morning prayer after it becomes slightly light; as for Shafiis, it is recommended to perform the morning prayer while it is still dark.

If the sun rises while praying, the prayer will be invalid according to Hanafis. You need to perform it again after the sun rises (after the rime of karahah ends).

A person who has not performed the morning prayer within its time needs to perform (make qada) both its sunnah and fard after the sun rises (after the time of karahah ends) and before the time for the noon prayer starts.

61 What are the necessary qualities for an Imam to have in order to lead a congregational prayer?

How are congregational prayers performed?

A person who is following the imam, that is, muqtadi, starts the prayer by uttering takbir after the imam utters takbir. He reads only Subhanaka and keeps silent. He does not recite al-Fatiha or any other verses. He bows down for ruku when the imam bows down for ruku. He says the glorification of ruku. After the imam goes back from ruku bu saying ‘samiallahu liman hamidah’, he only says ‘rabbana lakal hamd’. And he only reads the tasbihs of sajdah when they are in sajdah.

In the first sitting of three or four rak’ah prayers, only at-tahiyyat is read. In the last sitting, salawats and duas are read along with at-tahiyyat and; salutations are said with the imam.  

It is makruh tahrimi for a person who is following an Imam to read al- Fatiha and an additional chapter or verses. For, the imam reads on behalf of the congregation. Imam's reading replaces the reading of the congregation. As a matter of fact, this issue is stated clearly in a hadith. However, Imam Muhammad holds the view that it is makruh for the congregation to read when the imam reads aloud but he says it is permissible for the congregation to read when the imam reads silently.

The properties that an imam needs to have:

A person who leads prayers and is followed by the congregation is called an imam. The duty of leading the prayer for the congregation is called imamah. Following the imam is called iqtida; a person who follows the imam is called a muqtadi, muttabi or ma'mum.

The virtue of being an imam is more than being a muezzin. The responsibility of a person who becomes an imam though he is not competent is similarly more. For, the imam is muqtada bih religiously; that is, the person that the congregation follows. He obtains as many rewards as the number of people who follow him. However, if the prayer he leads is missing or wrong, the responsibility of the entire congregation lies in him. Therefore, some religious notables avoided being imams taking into consideration this responsibility. 

It is narrated that someone showed Hz. Ali an ambling nice horse:

- O Ali! What can you do with this horse, which can fly like a horse?

Hz. Ali, who had a great sense of responsibility, answered:

- You can ride it and escape from being an imam. (Ramuz al-Ahadith, number: 5728)

What are the conditions of being an imam?

1. The person to lead the prayer must be a Muslim.

2. The imam has to be sane and to have reached the age of puberty. It is not permissible for a mad person, a drunken person and a child who has not reached the age of puberty to become an imam.

3. The imam must be male. A woman cannot lead men in prayer.

4. The imam must know enough verses of the Quran for the prayer to be valid.

5. The imam must not be an excused person. The prayer of an excused person has special rules. A person who is not excused cannot follow an excused person. A blind person can be an imam but if there is a person more capable than him, it is makruh tanzihi for the blind person to lead the prayer. 

The conditions we have mentioned above are the basic conditions of being an imam. After these conditions, the following qualities are given priority for being an imam respectively: It is necessary for the imam to have a sound creed, a good knowledge of fiqh and sufficient knowledge about issues related to prayer. If there are some people who are equal in terms of the issues mentioned above, the one who reads the Quran the best or the one who knows more verses of the Quran by heart is preferred. If they are still equal, the one who avoids harams and has more taqwa (who fears Allah more) is preferred. If they are still equal, the following order is taken into consideration: the oldest one, the one whose ethics is the highest, the one who is liked by people and increases the number of the congregation, the one who comes from a more honorable and nobler family, and the one with the best voice.

However, if the host (landlord) is among the congregation, he is given priority; if the appointed imam of that district is present, he is given priority even if he does not have all of the qualities mentioned above.

* The person to lead the prayer has to be very careful about material and spiritual cleaning and be superior to the congregation in all aspects. It is necessary for the imam to pay attention especially to wearing clean clothes and socks, to wear nice smells, and to avoid eating things that emit disturbing smells like onion and garlic. 

* It is makruh tahrimi for fasiq people and people of bid'ah to become imam. For, they act heedlessly regarding religious deeds. The prayer performed behind these kinds of people will not have any rewards and virtues but a person is relieved of the responsibility of prayer. According to Imam Muhammad and Imam Malik, it is not permissible to follow such people in prayer.

* It is makruh for a woman to lead prayers to other women but it is permissible.If a woman leads a prayer to other women, she needs to stand among them in the middle of the first line, not in front of them. 

* The imam needs to avoid the things that will make the congregation hate him. For instance, it is not appropriate for an imam to lengthen qira'ah or tasbihat.  It is regarded makruh to make the congregation hate. The Messenger of Allah stated the following regarding the issue:

"When one of you becomes the imam, he should not lengthen the prayer because there may be old people and children in the congregation. There may be ill and weak people. There may be some people who have important things to do. A person who performs a prayer individually can lengthen it as much as he wishes." (Muslim, Salat 37; Nasai, Imamah 35; Tirmidhi, Salat 175)

Allah will not accept the prayer of a person who becomes an imam to the people though they do not like him. (Abu Dawud, Salat, 63)

* It is makruh for the imam to hurry up so much as not to allow the congregation to complete ruku' and sajdahs in accordance with the sunnah. It is also makruh to lengthen ruku so that someone or some people will catch up. 

* It is wajib for the imam to read the verses that are easy for him. He should not read the verses that he has not memorized well.

What are the things that those who perform a prayer behind the imam need to care about?

Following the imam is called iqtida and the person who follows the imam is called a muqtadi. The following conditions are necessary for the validity of iqtida:

1- A muqtadi has to intend to perform the prayer and follow the imam at the beginning of the prayer.

2- The imam has to intend to lead the prayer also for women to enable the women to follow him.  

3- The imam has to be in front of the congregation.

4- A person who performs prayers by sitting can lead a prayer to a person who performs prayers by standing; a person who has tayammum can lead a prayer to a person who has wuduaccording to Abu Hanifa and Abu Yusuf. However, according to Imam Muhammad it is not valid because the imam has to be higher than the congregation. A person who sits is lower than a person who stands and a person who has tayammum is lower than a person who has wudu.

5 -The prayer that the imam and the congregation pray has to be the same prayer. For instance, a person who wants to perform the afternoon prayer cannot follow the imam who is leading the noon prayer. A person who is performing a prayer on time cannot follow an imam who is performing a missed (qada) prayer. Both the imam and the congregation have to perform the same prayer whether it is a prayer performed on time or a missed prayer.  

A musafir (traveler) can follow a muqim (resident) in a prayer and vice versa. However, when a musafir is the imam, he shortens a four-rak'ah prayer as two rak'ahs. The muqims among the congregation stand up after the imam salutes and complete their prayers as four rak'ahs. When a musafir follows a muqim, he performs his prayer fully. It is permissible for a person who wants to perform a supererogatory (nafilah) prayer to follow an imam who leads a fard prayer. For instance, if a person who has performed the noon prayer follows an imam who is leading the noon prayer, his prayer becomes permissible as a supererogatory prayer.

6- When a prayer is performed in the open area, there must not be a gap wide enough for a stream where a small boat can sail, a road where a car can pass or a space where two rows of people can stand between lines. If the road is not covered by rows of people, the prayer is not permissible. If they are in a mosque, it is permissible because the inside of the mosque is regarded as the same place.

7- Having different madhhabs does not prevent following an imam. It is better for a Muslim to follow an imam who follows the same madhhab as him but if it is not possible, it is better to follow an imam belonging to a different madhhab than performing a prayer alone. However, it is necessary for the imam no to have undergone something that invalidates wudu in the madhhab of muqtadi. For instance, if a Hanafi person knows that a Shafii imam has undergone some bleeding, he cannot follow that imam. For, bleeding does not invalidate wudu according to Shafiis but it does according to Hanafis. In that case, a Hanafi cannot follow a Shafii imam. Therefore, those who lead prayers need to act cautiously regarding the issues that are controversial among madhhabs considering that there may be people belonging to other madhhabs among the congregation.

8- The place where the imam and the congregation perform a prayer must be regarded as the same place. Therefore, if there is a high wall between the imam and the congregation and if the imam cannot be seen and heard by the congregation, it is not permissible to follow the imam. 

9- It is makruh to run in order to catch up with the imam.

10- The prayers performed in congregation in the mosque are more virtuous than the prayers performed in congregation with the family members at home. For, every step take in order to go to the mosque has a separate reward and virtue. Nevertheless, it is not appropriate to perform all prayers in the mosque and not to perform any prayers at home. For, children imitate their parents and are affected by them. The daughter of a mother who is interested in adorning herself spends most of her time adorning herself. The son of a father who is interested in films and entertainment behaves in the same way when he grows up. Therefore, parents have to set good examples for their children; they also have to guide their children related to worship like performing prayers and fasting. Otherwise, they will be held responsible. The Prophet objects to homes being places where no prayers and worship are performed through the following hadiths:

“O people! Perform prayers at home. For, the most acceptable prayer except the fard prayers is the prayer performed at home.” (Bukhari, Adhan 81, I`tisam 3; Muslim, Musafirin 213)

“Perform some of your prayers at home. Do not transform your homes into graves.” (Bukhari, Salat 52, Tahajjud 37; Muslim, Musafirin 208, 209)

“When a person performs a fard prayer in the mosque, he should perform some part of it (sunnah prayer) at home. For, Allah creates goodness in his house due to this prayer.”(Muslim, Musafirin 210; Ibn Majah, Iqamah 186)

In the hadiths above, the Prophet (PBUH) opposes to making houses places where prayers are not performed and no worshipping is performed. This is probably one of the reasons why it is more virtuous and rewarding to perform sunnah and supererogatory prayers at home. 

11- If the sound of the imam is not loud enough for all of the congregation to hear, one person among the congregation or muezzins repeat the takbirs and salams of the imam loudly.

12- The imam utters the first salutation more loudly than the second one because what announces that the prayer is over is the first salutation. 

13- When the imam salutes, a muqtadi also salutes even if he has not finished reading salawat and supplications. However, if he has not finished at-Tahiyyat, he does not salute. He completes at-Tahiyyat and salutes.

14- A person who catches up with the imam in tashahhud and starts reading at-Tahiyyat, does not stand up if he has not finished reading at-Tahiyyat when the imam stands up. He stands up after he finishes at-Tahiyyat. However, it is permissible for him to stand up without finishing at-Tahiyyat.

15- If the imam gets up from ruku and sajdah before the muqtadi reads tasbihat three times, the muqtadi needs to get up with the imam.

16- A person who follows the imam needs to perform the rukns after the imam. It is not permissible to bow down for ruku and sajdah, and to get up from ruku and sajdah before the imam.

17- When the imam skips the following, the congregation does not follow him; they need to do them:

* takbirs or ruku and sajdah,

* raising the hand up when uttering the opening takbir,

* tasbihat in ruku and sajdahs,

* reading at-Tahiyyat in tashahhud,

* salutations,

* takbirs of tashrik.

18- If the imam sits but stands up by mistake, the congregation does not follow him. They warn him by uttering Subhanallah or Allahu Akbar.

19- If the imam forgets some words while reciting a verse, one of the people behind him needs to remind him. If the imam has read long enough for qira'ah (the amount that is wajb), he needs to bow down for ruku at once. If he has not read long enough of qira'ah (the amount that is wajb), he can move to the next verse or a verse that he knows by heart. He should not cause the congregation to remind him.   

20- It is sunnah for the imam to turn toward the congregation after the prayer.

21- If a muqtadi catches up with the imam in the first rak'ah, he salutes with the imam. A person who follows the imam fully, that is, from the beginning of a prayer to the end without any interruption is called a mudrik. A person who catches up with the imam when the imam is at ruku utters takbir while standing and bows down; if he stays at ruku with the imam long enough to say Subhanallah once, he is regarded to have joined that rak'ah.

22- A person who cannot catch up with the imam in the first rak'ah is called a masbuq.  A masbuq follows the imam but in the last sitting, he reads only at-Tahiyyat and keeps silent; he does not read salawat and supplications. He can read at-Tahiyyat slowly till the imam ends the prayer. When the imam salutes to the right side, he does not salute and waits for the imam to salute to the left. After the imam salutes to the left, he stands up and completes the rak'ah(s) he has missed.  

A person who catches up with the imam in the second rak'ah stands up by saying Allahu Akbar after the salutations of the imam. He reads Subhanaka, al-Fatiha, and an additional chapter or some verses from the Quran; then, he sits after performing the ruku and sajdahs. He reads tahiyyat, salawat and other supplications and salutes. 

A person who catches up with the imam in the 3rd rak'ah performs two more rak'ahs when he stands up by reading al-Fatiha, and an additional chapter or some verses from the Quran.

If a person catches up with the imam in the 4th rak'ah, he stands up after the salutation of the imam and reads “Subhanaka”,al-Fatiha” and an additional chapter or some verses from the Quran performing one rak'ah and sits. After reading at-Tahiyyat, he stands up and performs two more rak'ahs. In the first rak'ah, he reads al-Fatiha and an additional chapter or some verses. In the second rak'ah, he reads only al-Fatiha. What one should note here is to perform the first and second rak'ahs in which al-Fatiha and an additional chapter or some verses from the Quran are read first while praying alone because he has caught up with the imam in the 4th rak'ah in which only al-Fatiha is read. Two rak'ahs with al-Fatiha and an additional chapter or some verses from the Quran and one rak'ah with only al-Fatiha remain. Therefore, after the salutation of the imam, he needs to read al-Fatiha and an additional chapter or some verses from the Quran in the first two of the remaining three rak'ahs and only al-Fatiha in the last rak'ah.

If a masbuq catches up with the imam in the 3rd rak'ah of the 3-rak'ah prayers like the evening and witr prayers, he stands up after the imam salutes and performs one rak'ah by reading al-Fatiha and an additional chapter or some verses from the Quran. Then, he sits down. After reading at-Tahiyyat, he stands up and performs one rak'ah by reading al-Fatiha and an additional chapter or some verses from the Quran. Then he sits down and salutes.

23- If a masbuq, that is, a person who has not caught up with the imam in the first rak'ah, forgets and salutes with the imam does not have to perform sajdah as-sahw (prostration of forgetfulness). However, if he salutes after the imam salutes, sajdah as-sahw becomes wajib for him. If he salutes with the imam deliberately, his prayer is invalidated.   

24- After the salutation, the congregation remains where they are until the following sentence is recited: "Allahumma anta's-salamu wa minka's-salam, tabarakta ya dha'l-jalali wa'l-ikram." (O Allah, You are the source of peace and from You comes peace, exalted You are, O Lord of Majesty and Honor.) Then, they stand up and perform the sunnah prayer and supplication in an appropriate place. It is mustahab to break the row after the fard prayer so that those who come to the mosque late will not think that the fard prayer is going on. A person who performs alone can perform fard and sunnah prayers in the same place.

62 What is the criterion for the length of the ruku and sajdah in prayers? How many times can invocations be recited at ruku (bowing down in prayer) and sajdah (prostration) at most?

In nafilah (supererogatory) prayers, you can recite invocations as many times as you want during ruku and sajdah. However in fard (obligatory) prayers, it is necessary to recite according to the rules of the Sunnah.

"Subhana Rabbiyal-A’la" (Glory to my Lord, the Most High) is recited only three times. This is the minimum number of invocation which is performed in ruku and sajdah. It is mustahab (recommended) to increase the number of invocations to five or seven as long as the number remains odd. However, the imam should not do this more than three times. (al-Hidaya - al Muhit / Sarakhsi)

The Islamic canonist experts say that the minimum number of invocations is three, the average of it is five and the perfect of it is seven. (Celal Yıldırım, Kaynaklarla İslam Fıkhı)

It is unanimously sunnah to say "Subhana Rabbiyal-A’la" in sajdah (prostration) at least one time and normally three times. The proof of this is the hadith narration of Ibn Mas'ud:

"...When the Prophet went to sajdah, he said "Subhana Rabbiyal-A’la" three times."

The following is stated in the hadith narration of Abu Huzayfa (R.A):

"Huzayfa heard the prophet (PBUH) in sajdah saying ""Subhana Rabbiyal-A’la three times" (Ibn Majah and Abu Dawud also narrated this hadith but did not say "three times".)

The sect of Hanafi school said, the Imam should not recite invocations in sajdah more than three times in order to give relief the congregation. According to the school of Malikis, there is no limit in invocations. (Wahba Zuhayli İslam Fıkhı Ency.)

63 What is the wisdom behind reciting only al-Fatiha in the 3rd and 4th rak'ahs of fard (obligatory) prayers but not reciting zamm-i surah (additional chapter or verses)?

According to the sect of Hanafi, performing the Qira'ah (reciting some verses from the Qur'an) in the last two rak'ahs of fard (obligatory) prayers is sunnah. It is also permissible to recite zamm-i surah after al-Fatiha. (see. al-Bahru’r-Raiq, ar-Ruku’ wa’s-Sujud fis-Salat)

It is wajib (obligatory) to recite al-Fatiha and a surah in the first two rak'ahs of three and four rak'ah fard prayers and in both two rak'ahs of the two-rak'ah prayers. Then when Fatiha is not recited in the first and second rak'ahs or only part of it is recited, sajdah as sahw (prostration of forgetfulness) becomes necessary; if most of it is recited, it is not necessary. (Fatawa al-Qadihan)

Reciting Fatiha and a surah is wajib in every rak'ah of sunnah, nafilah (supererogatory) and wajib prayers. When the surah is not recited in any of rak'ahs, sajdah as-sahw becomes necessary because of not performing a wajib. (see Bahr ar-Raiq)

When nothing is recited in the last two rak'ahs of fard prayers and the tasbih (glorification) is not performed, nothing is necessary according to the narration of Imam Abu Yusuf from Imam Abu Hanifa. Since this riwayah is more trusted, it is accepted as base for fatwa. (Fatawa al-Qadihan - Fatawa al-Hindiyya; see. Celal Yıldırım, Kaynaklarıyla İslam Fıkhı, Uysal Kitabevi: 1/422-423)

There are narrations from Jabir and Abu Qatada stating that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) prayed like that. (see. Badai as-Sanayi’, the relevant part).

The wisdom of this may be to perform the prayer easily. As a matter of fact, according to the riwayah, Hz. Abu Hurayrah said: "When the prophet (PBUH) was left free to decide between two things, he certainly chose the easier one". (see. Bukhari, Adab, 80)

Likewise, abandoning the last two rak'ahs in the state of musafir (travelling) confirms the wisdom of this easiness.

64 Is a man’s prayer invalidated when his waist gets opened in prostration?

According to Abu Hanifa, while the prayer is valid when at most one-fourth of an organ gets opened, it is invalid when more than one-fourth of an organ gets opened. When the genitals and the bottom are opened one dirham (3,2 gr.), the prayer becomes invalid.  According to Abu Yusuf, half of an organ is taken as basis. While it does not invalidate prayer when less than half of an organ gets opened, it invalidates prayer when more than half of an organ gets opened. According to Imam- Shafii, it invalidates prayer when any part of an organ gets opened (1).

In this issue, the sexual organ is regarded as an organ by itself, and testicles are regarded as an organ. The part from the knees to the heels is also accepted as an organ by itself. This is the sound view. So, prayer is valid when the knee caps get opened in prayer because the part opened is not equal to one-fourth of the organ. This is the soundest view (2).

A woman’s heel to her knee is also regarded as an organ. Namely, when a woman’s heel gets opened during prayer, it does not invalidate her prayer because the heels are not equal to one-fourth of the part from the knee to the heel (3).

Likewise, the abdomen and the back that are accepted as an organ by itself are included  in the abdomen.  The chest is another organ by itself. Yet, the breasts of the girls whose chests have not grown fully are included in their chests.  The grown breasts are accepted as an organ by themselves (4).

A person who cannot find clothes and hence whose genitals are uncovered performs prayers  by sitting, but performs bowing down and prostrating by moving his head. Nonetheless, he can perform prayers by bowing down and prostration while standing. Yet, the first way is more superior because it prevents the genitals from being opened very much. Although there is nobody beside him, Allah is worthy of being ashamed from more than anybody else.

In this regard, fiqh scholars say, “it is better for an undressed man to perform prayers by sitting whether be at night or in daytime, at home or in a desert (5). This is the sound view.

So it is wajib to accept and wear a garment given as a present for a poor person who cannot afford to buy clothes. Otherwise, he must look for permissible things to cover himself or his genitals parts.  When he cannot find anything to cover himself, he cannot grab the goods of others because in this case there is no necessity that can lead him to death (6).

A naked person should ask from another person who has clothes to borrow him some clothes to perform prayers.  If that person lends him some clothes, he will perform prayers with them. Otherwise, he should perform prayers as it is mentioned above.

If he finds enough clothes to cover himself during the prayer, he should stop the prayer and wear the clothes.  If he hopes he can find clothes, he can delay the prayer until the end of time (for that prayer) (7).

As a result, it should be decided under the light of the knowledge given above for the situations mentioned both in the question and in other cases.


(1) See ash-Shawkani, Nayl al-Awtar, II,68; ash-Shafi, al-Umm, I, 77; az-Zuhayli, al- Fiqhu’l Islam and Adillatuh- Damascus, 1405/1985, I, 585, 586; Hamdi Donduren, Delilleriyle İslam İlmihali, Istanbul 1992, p: 226-228.

(2) At-Tanjis- Fatawa al-Hindiyya.

(3) Sharh-i Majma /Ibn Malak.

(4) Tatarhaniye – al-Kinya – al-Khulasa.

(5) Al-Kafi – Bahr ar-Raiq / Ibn Nujaym.

(6) Al-Jawharatu’n- Nayyira – Fatawa al-Hindiyya

(7) Sirajiyya – al- Kinya. Kitabevi- 1/205-207.

(Celal Yıldırım, Fiqh of Islam)

65 What must we do if we make salutations by accident at the first sitting in a four-rak'ah-salah?

If we make salutations by accident at the first sitting in a four-rak'ah-salah, the salah does not become invalid. After the salutations the person completes the salah if he has not committed amal kathir (a major deed) or talked. He/she must perform sajda-as-sahw because of the delay.

66 Can you give some information about not performing salah relying on the idea that sooner or later Allah will forgive me. Will there be a difference between those who perform their salahs and those who do not perform their salahs?

It is not appropriate for a person to leave salah by saying, “Sooner or later Allah will forgive me.” Their condition is like that of those who give up eating and drinking water by saying, “Allah is merciful, He will not let me die.” Allah has informed people about how He is going to treat those who do not perform their salahs. Allah has stated in the Qur’an that He will torment the people who do not perform their salahs.

Allah Ta’ala states the following about the torment in the afterworld:

"And (ask) of the Sinners: What led you into Hell-Fire?They will say: "We were not of those who prayed… " (al-Muddathir, 74/40-43).

“But after them there followed a posterity who missed prayers and followed after lusts: soon, then will they face Destruction. Except those who repent and believe, and work Righteousness: for these will enter the Garden and will not be wronged in the least.” (Maryam, 19/59, 60)

“So woe to the worshippers, Who are neglectful of their Prayers.” (al-Maun, 107/4-5)

Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said,

“The protection of Allah and His Messenger is removed from those who leave their salahs intentionally.” (Ahmad b. Hanbal, IV, 238, VI, 461)

“The deeds of those who leave their afternoon prayer go in vain.” (Bukhari, Mawaqit,13, 34; Nasai, Salat, 15)

“Allah Ta’ala seals the hearts of those who leave three jumu’ah  (Friday) salahs negligently.” (Nasai, Jumu’ah, 2; Tirmidhi, Jumu’ah 7; Ibn Majah, Iqama, 93)

Since Prophet Adam, there had been one salah a day in every religion. The salahs performed by all of them were gathered together and were made fard for those who believed in Prophet Muhammad. It is not a pillar of iman (belief) to perform salah. But, to believe that salah is a fard is a pillar of iman.

Salah is the pillar of religion. A person who performs his/her salah regularly and properly will have established his/her religion and kept the building of Islam erect. And he who does not perform his/her salah will have destroyed his/her religion and the building of Islam. Our Prophet (pbuh) said, “The head of our religion is the salah. There is no one without a head; similarly, there is no religion without salah.”

The prophet (s.a.w.) criticizes the people who leave congregation as follows:

“I swear I wish in my heart that I shall order people to perform salah and they shall carry out this; after that, I shall order a man to lead people to perform the salah. After this order, I shall take some men with loads of wood to the ones who have not come to congregation and burn their houses furiously.” (al-Muwatta', Jama'ah 3; Ibn Majah, Masajid, 17).

67 Is there any objection for a musafir (traveler) to perform his/her prayers fully instead of shortening them?

If you wish, you can perform your prayers fully in a long journey instead of shortening them. It is permissible for a traveler (musafir) to perform a fard (obligatory) four-rak'ah prayer fully without shortening it. The two rak'ah of this prayer is accepted as nafilah (supererogatory).

There are two different views as to when someone becomes a musafir:

1- Those considering the distance. According to that view, if a person travels to a distance of 90 km, he shortens his prayers because he is regarded a musafir.

2- Those considering the time. According to them, a three-day journey makes a person musafir. They can only shorten their prayers then. Otherwise, they cannot shorten their prayers.

According to Hanafis, a musafir has to shorten the four-rak'ah fard prayers to two rak'ahs. However, if he prays it as four, it is valid.

According to Shafiis, it is better to pray fully even if one is a musafir. Let us suppose that we perform our prayers fully when we are really musafirs; our prayers will be valid. If we are not musafirs really, then shortening the prayers makes our prayers invalid. Then, we think that it is better to perform the fard prayers fully.

However, it is necessary to accept a view and act accordingly and not to criticize the people accepting other views.

68 When time narrows for the fajr (morning) prayer, is it permissible to pray only its fard by leaving its sunnah?

The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) gave more importance to the sunnah of the fajr (morning) prayer than the other sunnahs and wanted us not to leave it: "Do not leave the two (sunnah) rak'ahs of fajr, even if you are chased by cavalrymen." (Abu Dawud, 2/301, no: 1258)

However, if the time is limited and there exists a danger of not performing its fard within its prescribed time, it is necessary to perform only its fard by leaving its sunnah.

69 Does not reciting iqamah (a kind of adhan recited before the fards indicating that the prayer is beginning) invalidate the prayer? I sometimes forget I think I forget reciting iqamah in fard (obligatory) prayers.

Reciting iqamah is sunnah. For this reason, abandoning reciting iqamah is not an obstacle for the prayer.

70 Does sajda as-sahw (prostration of forgetfulness) become necessary if we change the places of the invocations that we recite in ruku and sajdah?

The prayer is not invalidated when someone says "subhana rabbiyal a'la" (Glory be to my Lord, the Most High) in ruku (bowing in prayer) or "subhana rabbiyal azim" (Glory be to my Lord Almighty) in sajdah (prostration); there is no need to perform sajda as-sahw due to it.

71 Did the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) recite the prayers of Rabbana in prayers after salawat? Is it permissible for us to pray as we wish in the last sitting of prayers?

Making dua (praying) is sunnah in the last sitting after salawat and before saluting. This dua must be performed from the verses of dua of the Qur'an or a dua suchlike.

While performing prayer, it is not considered permissible to make dua (pray) for things which are requested from human beings (such as, "O my Lord! Give me such and such amount of money.")

It is sunnah to recite the verses which are read routinely at the end of prayers (Rabbana atina fi'd-dunya hasanatan wa fi'l-akhirati hasanatan wa qina adhaba'n-nar.) (Rabbana, ighfir li wali walidayya wa lil mu'minina yawma yaqumu'l-hisab.).

72 While in salah in congregation, if someone from the congregation behaves in such a way that requires sajda as-sahw, what must he/she do?

If someone reads salli barik prayers in the first sitting of a three or four rak’ah salah by accident, his/her salah is acceptable. He/she does not need to perform it again. In a situation like this, he/she must perform sajda as-sahw.

However, if someone makes such a mistake in a prayer performed in congregation, he/she does not need to perform sajda as-sahw. His/her salah is acceptable.

73 In the salah, if we forget an ayah while reading a short additional chapter like Surah al-Ikhlas, must we perform sajdah as-sahw?

It is makruh to skip an ayah while reading an additional chapter. Howver, it is not makruh if it is done by accident. It can be corrected if one notices at that moment.

It is wajib to perform sajdah as-sahw (prostration of forgetfulness) if one abandons reading an additional chapter after Surah al-Fatiha. Likewise; if one reads a very short ayah along with Surah al-Fatiha, it is necessary to perform sajdah as-sahw according to the views of some of the mujtahid imams. (at-Tebyin / Zaylai) Nothing is necessary according to Abu Hanifa.

Even if one reads only two short ayahs after Surah al-Fatiha, goes to ruku accidentally and notices this in the ruku and comes back, completes three ayahs, it is wajib to perform sajdah as-sahw. (see Celal Yıldırım, Kaynaklarıyla İslam Fıkhı, Uysal Kitabevi: 1/420-421)

74 Is there a hadith about offering a two-rak'ah prayer after making wudu (ablution)?

Offering a two-rak'ah prayer after making wudu is not fard (obligation) but sunnah. Thus, the information that a person who does not offer a two-rak'ah prayer after making wudu except fard prayers is a sinner is wrong. For, there is no such information in the verses of the Qur'an or hadiths. The only true information about it is that it is sunnah. 

The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said the following about the issue: "Whoever offers a two-rak'ah prayer without busying himself with other things after making wudu (ablution) properly like me, his previous sins are forgiven." (Bukhari, Wudu, 34, 28; Muslim, Taharah, 3-4).

By depending upon such hadiths, scholars say that offering two rakat prayers after making wudu is sunnah. (see. W. Zuhayli, al-Fiqhu'l Islami, 2/64).

75 What is the decree for performing salah in congregation according to the madhhabs?

From the time of our Prophet (s.a.w) to now, salah has been performed in congregation because of its high virtue; the mosques built for this purpose have been a social institution along with the other functions they carry out.

Salah in congregation is sunnah al-muakkada according to Hanafi Madhhab;  it is fard al-kifaya - sunnah al-muakkada- according to Shafi’i Madhhab; according to Maliki madhhab, it is sunnah al-muakkada- fard al-kifaya; it isfard al-’ayn according to Hanbali Madhhab and Dawud az-Zahiri. (Tajrid as-Sarih Translation, II, 604).

Someone who is a member of Hanbali Madhhab has to perform salah in congregation if he has no excuse. However, congregation is not essential for the validity of the salah. That is, if someone performs his/her salah alone, his/her salah is valid.

76 Are Salli and Barik prayers recited in the first sitting of the sunnah of the asr (afternoon) prayer?

It is sunnah to recite salawat to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) after at-tahiyyat in the last sitting of the prayers of fard, witr and muakkad sunnahs; and in all sittings of ghayr muakkad sunnahs and nafilah prayers.

Accordingly, it is sunnah to recite the prayers of Salli and Barik after at-tahiyyat of the first sitting of the sunnah of the isha (night) and the sunnah of the asr (afternoon) prayers.

A person who does not recite these prayers are considered to have left a sunnah but it is not necessary for him/her to perform sajda as-sahw (prostration of forgetfulness). For, not performing a sunnah in the prayer does not require sajda as sahw.

77 Is it permissible to perform prayers with clothes that have some pictures/photos on?

Pictures or photos which are covered and are under a cloth do not harm the prayer. However, when such pictures or photos are not covered, it will be makrooh (abominable) but the prayer will be valid. It is not true not to perform prayers just because of the pictures on clothes. It is better to wear clothes that have no pictures. However, the clothes with pictures do not invalidate the prayer. It is even permissible to perform prayers on newspapers that have photos instead of prayer mats. They do not invalidate the prayer. But there must not be pictures or photos on the place where the prostration is performed or on the place where the forehead touches.

78 Is there a hadith stating that prayer will be forgotten at the end of time and prayer will no longer be performed? Is it true?

There are some hadith narrations on this issue. The meaning of one them is as follows;

Abu Umama narrates; the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stated the following:

"The knots of Islam are untied one by one. Once after every knot is untied, people try to untie the succeeding knot. The first knot which is untied among them is the laws of shari'ah (Islamic Law), the last of them is the prayer." (This hadith which is narrated by Ahmad b. Hanbal and Tabarani is authentic (sahih). (see Majmauz'-Zawaid, 7/281)

What is meant by forgetting the prayer is not performing it properly, delaying it without an excuse and the intentional negligence of it by some Muslims without an excuse and -God forbid- underestimating the prayer and mocking with people who perform prayers. Otherwise, it should not be understood as not performing the prayer by any Muslims.

Besides, it is understood how important to perform prayers in such a time. The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) both warns the people who do not perform prayers and reminds them about the value of the worship of those who perform prayers. The example given from the horridness of the end of time is also one of the miracles that inform about the future.

79 What should a person who joins the imam in a congregational prayer after the first rak'ah and who gives salam (salutes) with the imam at the end of the prayer by mistake do?

If the person does not turn his chest from the qiblah (the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca) or he does not talk or make a move  that makes the salah invalid, he/she can continue the salah. He/she needs to perform sujud as-sahw (prostrations of forgetfulness) in the last sitting of the salah. Thus, salah is completed in this way.

If the person turns his chest from the qiblah, talks or makes a move that makes the salah invalid, his salah becomes invalid. He needs to pray it again.

80 How many ayahs can the imam read the most while performing salah in congregation?

The imam must avoid the things that may cause hatred in at the congregation. It is not appropriate for the imam to prolong reading the Quran or prayers so much as to bore the congregation. Here, he must find the minimum level of sunnah sufficient. For, to prolong reading give weariness to the congregation, and this is makruh.

The thawab of performing salah in congregation is great. It is not convenient to deprive others from this thawab. It is not makruh to prolong the reading if the congregation is willing

However, it is makruh for the imam hurry so much as not to give the congregation enough time to complete ruku and sajdah dhikrs and tashahhud in accordance with the sunnah.

It is also makruh for the imam to prolong ruku for the congregation to catch up.

81 Does caressing or pulling the pants while bowing down for prostration in prayer invalidate the prayer?

Though pulling the pants by using two hands does not invalidate the prayer, it is makruh (abominable). That is, it is something that diminishes the thawab (reward) of the prayer and a deed which is not pleasant. There is information in Fatawa al-Hindiyya about this issue

(Celal Yıldırım, İslam Fıkhı, I/357-358)

82 Is it permissible for a person who has to perform his prayers only by sitting to lean on somewhere as well?

If a person is too sick or old to perform prayers without leaning on somewhere, it is permissible for him/her to perform prayers by leaning on somewhere. It is makrooh (abominable) for a healthy person to pray by leaning on somewhere.

83 Is it permissible to perform prayers by applying a colorless nail polisher?

A nail polisher prevents wudu (ablution) and ghusl (major ablution). For this reason, wudu and ghusl will not be valid. Wudu and ghusl are not performed before removing the polishers if they form a layer on the nails and thus prevent water from penetrating to the nail.

84 Is sajdah as-sahw (prostration of forgetfulness) necessary if someone reads surah of al-Fatiha instead of at-Tahiyyat by mistake in the first or last sitting of prayer?

If surah of al-Fatiha is read in the first tasahhud, it is necessary to perform sajdah as-sahw.

If surah of al-Fatiha is recited in the last tasahhud, it is also necessary to perform sajdah as-sahw. Performing sajdah as-sahw becomes necessary for the person who reads surah of al-Fatiha in tasahhud at first and then at-tahiyyat. If he/she sits in the length of tasahhud and reads at tahiyyat and then al-Fatiha, nothing is required. (al-Muhit / Radiyuddin Sarakhsi; Celal Yıldırım, Kaynaklarıyla İslam Fıkhı, 1/420-421)

85 Can prayers be performed during pregnancy; if the answer is yes, what things should be paid attention?

A pregnant woman has to perform the prayers. If a just, expert doctor, in other words, a doctor who performs at least the minimum obligations of the religion and who abstains from grave sins, says that it is dangerous for the woman to stand while performing prayers, she may perform her prayers in a sitting position.

According to medical data and to the majority of Islamic jurists, a pregnant woman does not menstruate. Therefore, if a pregnant woman experiences bleeding, she needs to perform her prayers and fasting as it cannot be the bleeding of menstruation. On condition that she takes ritual ablution as subject to the regulations of the mustahadha (excused), she can perform the prayers, handle the Qur'an, read (recite) it, and she can enter a mosque.

As soon as the pregnant gives birth, she becomes nufasa (being in the state of recovery from childbirth). When bleeding stops after this period and she takes ghusl (complete ablution of the body), she becomes subject to the normal regulations and fulfills her religious duties accordingly.

86 While intention is Sunnah in Wudu (ablution), why is it fard in tayammum (wudu with soil)?

Intention is fard (obligatory) in tayammum, because it is performed with soil; it does not essentially purify the dirt; it is only a substitute for water. Since it is a kind of cleanliness that takes the place of wudu, it will not be valid without intention.

87 The praying person must hear his/her own voice while performing the "Qiraah" (reading/reciting the Quran). Is this a clear hearing or is hearing the recitation in whisper enough?

While performing recitation in prayer, it is necessary to recite with the tongue. Reciting by heart is not considered Qira'ah. What is intended by hearing with ear is reciting with a hearable voice by yourself and without disturbing the person who is near you.

88 Why do we read salli-barik prayers in the first sitting of the first sunnah of the afternoon and night salahs? In case of forgetting to read them, do we have to make sajda as-sahw?

It is sunnah to read salli and barik prayers in the first tashahhud of afternoon and night salahs. Nothing is necessary to do if a person forgets to read them. If someone leaves this sunnah, he/she misses the thawab (reward). There is no need to make sajda as-sahw.

We can perform the first sunnahs of afternoon and night salahs as two rak’ahs. Our Prophet (s.a.w) sometimes performed them by saluting at the end of the two rak’ahs. For this reason, salli-barik prayers are read in the first sitting of the first sunnahs of the afternoon and night salahs.

According to a hadith  reported by Abu Dawud, our Prophet  (s.a.w) performed the sunnah of the afternoon salah as four rak’ahs, and he divided it into two as two rak’ahs by  saluting. According to a narration by Hadrat Aisha, “Our Prophet (s.a.w) performed four rak’ahs after and before the fard of the night salah and went to sleep.”

There are also narratives telling us that our Prophet (s.a.w) performed the sunnah of afternoon salah as only two rak’ahs. According to a narration of Nasai from Hz. Ali, “The Messenger of Allah performed two rak’ahs before the fard of the afternoon salah.”

According to these hadiths, it is mandub to perform four rak’ahs before the afternoon and night salahs. It is a kind of worship whose thawab and virtue are high. Imam Muhammad stated that the sunnah prayers before the afternoon and night salahs can be performed as two or four rak’ahs. That is, the sunnah of the afternoon salah can also be performed as two rak’ahs. However, the other imams of Hanafi madhhab regard it better to perform it as four rak’ahs.

89 Is it permissible to preach on worldly issues on Jumuah (Friday) sermons?

It is fard (obligatory) to glorify Allah Almighty while reciting the  khutbah (sermon). Besides, it is also permissible to recite khutbah on  worldly issues which concern the society.

90 Does a person who fails to go to the Jumuah (Friday) prayer for three succeeding times without an excuse become a kafir (disbeliever)?

Not going to Friday prayers is a major sin. However, even if a Muslim has never gone to a Friday prayer, he does not become a kafir (disbeliever); he is considered to have committed a sin. If he repents sincerely and continues to pray, it is hoped that his previous sins are forgiven...

91 Is it permissible to perform prayers by sitting on a chair? Do people perform prayers on chairs because it is easier?

Firstly, we think it is more appropriate to attribute the increase in the number of people performing prayers by sitting on chairs today compared to the people in the past to the consciousness of the people about prayers.

Having god thoughts about others fits us and is enough for us. We should not think that anybody will prefer sitting on a chair in order to perform a prayer easily when he is healthy and when he can perform a prayer properly. It is necessary to write about the states of excuse making it permissible to perform prayers sitting on a chair.

There are six pillars in a prayer. That is, there are six main acts that form a prayer. There are rules of performing these six acts properly (ta'dil al-arkan). These acts become pillars through those rules. From this point of view, to obey those rules is fard according to Shafii and Maliki madhhabs and Imam Abu Yusuf, one of the imams of Hanafi madhhab; it is wajib according to Abu Hanifa and Imam Muhammad. These pillars and the acts in them (ta'dil al-arkan) cannot be ignored arbitrarily. If they are ignored, the prayer will be harmed. To put it more clearly, if even one of those six pillars is missing, or if it is not performed properly, it will not be called a prayer.

If there is a pillar or ta'dil al-arkan that one is too weak to do, the necessity to do it is exempted. In that case, that person needs to do the acts that he can and try to act in accordance with ta'dil al-arkan as much as he can. For, the following is a definite principle of the Quran: “On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear!” (al-Baqara, 2/286) Our religion does not order anything that cannot be done.

Imran Ibn Husayn, one of the Companions, narrates: "I was suffering from hemorrhoids. I asked the Prophet (pbuh) how I shall perform prayers. He said,

'Perform your prayers standing. If you cannot perform standing, sit. If you cannot perform sitting, lie down on your side.'" In the narration of the hadith in Nasai, the following addition exists: "If you cannot perform by lying down on your side, lie on your back. Allah does not place anybody a burden greater than he can bear." (Bukhari, Taqsir, 19; Tirmidhi, Mawaqit, 157; Abu Dawud, Salat, 175; Zaylai, Nasbu'r-Raya, II, 175)

As for the issue of how to sit in the prayer, according to Hanafis, a person needs to sit as in the sitting (tashahhud). If he cannot sit like that, he can sit as he wishes. According to Malikis, it is mandub for him to sit cross-legged except in prostration and tashahhud. According to Hanbalis, it is sunnah for him to sit cross-legged except in bowing down (ruku) and tashahhud. It is also permissible for him to sit as he wishes. According to Shafiis, it is sunnah for a person who performs prayers sitting to sit by spreading his feet under his body except in prostration and tashahhud. A person who cannot sit like that can sit as he wishes according to the four madhhabs.

If a person who performs prayers sitting can bow down and prostrate, he needs to do them but if he cannot do them, he performs them through gestures. If a person who performs prayers sitting can bow down and prostrate, he needs to bow down and prostrate; if not, he needs to use his gestures. In that case, the gesture for prostration needs to be more inclined than the gesture for bowing down; it is wajib to do so. A person who can stand but cannot bow down and prostrate needs to use his gestures while standing for bowing down and prostration. In that case, it is necessary to bow more for the sajda than ruku.

Standing is not obligatory in supererogatory prayers. However, it is necessary for a person who can do them to do them. For, there exists the principle of ease and tolerance in supererogatory prayers since they are abundant. The same ease is in question for the ill people who cannot stand in both fard and supererogatory prayers.

Islamic fiqh scholars unanimously agree that those who are too ill to stand in prayers do not have to stand. The evidence of it is the hadith reported by Imran b. Husayn we have mentioned above. If a person can perform qira'ah (reading the Quran) by standing even if it is one verse, he needs to stand long enough to read it.

Those who perform prayers sitting need to perform ruku and sajda to the extent that they can. If it is not possible for a person to bend or if it is harmful for him, he needs to gesture by his head. While gesturing, it is necessary to bend the head a bit more for prostration than bowing down. Thus, it becomes possible to differentiate between them.

It is not necessary for a person who cannot bend fully in ruku and sajda or a person who performs prayers by gestures with his head to place something high before him. In fact, it was forbidden by a hadith. According to a narration by Jabir b. Abdillah,  Hz. Prophet (pbuh) went to see an ill person; when he saw him trying to prostrate on a pillow he placed before him, the Prophet removed the pillow and said, "If you can, perform prayers on the ground. If it is not possible, perform prayers by gestures. Bend a bit more in sajda than ruku." (Zaylai, ibid, 2/175 ff)

If an ill person cannot sit, he needs to lie on his back, make his feet face the qiblah and gesture for ruku and sajda. It is also permissible if he lies on his side by facing the qiblah and perform prayers by gesturing.

According to the majority of the Islamic fiqh scholars, a person who cannot gesture by his head needs to gesture by his eyes; if he cannot do it by his head and eyes, he needs to do it by his heart. He cannot abandon prayers if he is sane.

In conclusion, the limit for the ease for an ill person regarding prayers is gesturing by the head according to Hanafis, by the eye or intention according to Malikis, and following the parts of the prayer by the heart according to Shafiis and Hanbalis.

As for the use of a chair, the following options can be offered to the ill people:

1. If a person who cannot perform ta'dil al-arkan while standing and bowing down can perform ta'dil al-arkan in prostration and tashahhud, he is not allowed to sit for prostration and tashahhud. This person can use a chair as a support for standing and/or bowing down. However, it is fard for him to perform ta'dil al-arkan in prostration and tashahhud.

2. If a person who can perform ta'dil al-arkan while standing and bowing down but cannot perform ta'dil al-arkan in prostration and tashahhud, he needs to prostrate if he can by stretching his legs or some other way. He can sit by turning toward the qiblah as he wishes. If he cannot touch the ground/floor with his forehead, he can perform prostration and tashahhud as he wishes (by sitting or lying).

3. A person can use a chair as a support for any of the six pillars of prayer that he cannot perform ta'dil al-arkan without a chair. He is not allowed to use a chair for the other pillars that he can perform ta'dil al-arkan without a chair.

4. If a person is too ill and old to perform prayers without leaning on somewhere, he can perform prayers by leaning. It is makruh for a person to lean if he can perform prayers without leaning.

5. Situations like the ground being muddy, the caravan not waiting for a person, the horse, camel, etc being grumpy and difficult to control when one dismounts can be used as an excuse to perform a prayer on horseback, camelback, etc. From this point of view, it can be said that a person who has difficulty in sitting or standing can perform his prayers by sitting on a chair.

6. To have peace of mind while praying is also important. If a person suffers when he performs a prayer sitting and if he feels all right on a chair, he can perform prayers by sitting on a chair.

Note: The decree of the Turkish Directorate of the Religious Affairs regarding the issue is as follows:

Prayer is a kind of worship in which a person approaches Allah the most. Due to this quality, the Prophet (pbuh) defines prayer as the best deed (Ibn Majah, Taharah, 4) and states that the first thing man will be questioned about on the Day of Judgment is prayer.  (Tirmidhi, Salat, 188) Therefore, a person is not allowed to abandon prayers and he is demanded to perform prayers even if by gestures. Hz. Prophet (pbuh) said, "Allah's protection will be away from a person who abandons performing prayers deliberately." (Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, VI. 421)

The pillars of prayer are stated in the Quran and Sunnah; the Prophet (pbuh) himself explained orally and practically how to perform prayers. Those pillars are the takbir of iftitah (opening), standing, qira'ah (reading the Quran), bowing down (ruku), prostration (sajda) and the last sitting. Allah said, "Stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind)" (al-Baqara, 2/238) "O ye who believe! Bow down, prostrate yourselves, and adore your Lord; and do good; that ye may prosper." (al-Hajj, 22/77) Hz. Prophet (pbuh) taught a Companion how to pray and showed how to do tashahhud at the end; he said, "When you do this, your prayer will be complete." (Tirmidhi, Abwabu's-Salat, 226)

If one of those pillars is omitted without any excuse, the prayer will not be valid. However, in our religion, responsibilities are determined based on the power of a person (al-Baqara, 2/286); the principle of easiness is introduced for the situations that a person cannot cope with (al-Baqara, 2/185). The disorders that prevent a person from performing any of the pillars of the prayer are regarded as excuses.

Accordingly, a person who cannot perform prayers properly by standing can perform them by sitting. Such a person can perform prayers by kneeling down, sitting cross-legged or stretching his legs toward the qiblah based on his state. When a Companion who was ill asked the Prophet (pbuh) how to perform prayers, he said, "Perform prayers standing. If you cannot perform them standing, sit or lie down on your side." (Bukhari, Taqsiru's-Salat, 19)

A person who can stand and can sit but who cannot prostrate needs to start prayer standing, sit after ruku and prostrate by gestures.

A person who can stand but cannot stand up after sitting starts prayer standing and completes his prayer sitting after prostrating.

A person who can stand and can perform ruku but cannot sit starts prayer standing; after ruku, he performs prostration by gestures by sitting on a stool or something like that.

A person who cannot stand and cannot sit on the ground/floor sits on a stool, chair, etc and performs ruku and sajda by gestures.

When a person worships his Lord, he should be sincere and try to fulfill the formal conditions determined by the religion. He should be aware of the fact that he will be held responsible because of the lack of efforts and sensitiveness. Therefore, the excuses a believer makes in order to perform prayers on a chair, stool, etc should persuade his conscience. Slight bodily disorders that will not prevent performing prayers properly should not be put forward as acceptable excuses.

On the other hand, to perform prayers on chairs in mosques without any compulsory and religiously acceptable excuses causes an unpleasant appearance in mosques and leads to quarrels among the congregation. Placing fixed benches and chairs in mosques with the purpose of performing prayers does not comply with the ambiance and culture of mosques. Therefore, it is more appropriate for those who have some illnesses and excuses to perform their prayers by sitting on the ground/floor than on a chair, stool, etc.

92 Is it necessary to say Allahuakbar (Allah is the greatest) during takbir al-iftihah (the opening takbir)? Is it enough to raise hands only?

We should say takbir al-iftihah with a voice which is hearable by us when offering singly and with jamaah (congregation).

According to the Hanafi sect of school, starting the prayer with the word of "Allahuakbar" is not an obligation but is wajib (close to obligatory). The prayer will be valid when another word is said instead of this. However, since the wajib is not performed, that person is considered to have committed a sin.

93 Can a person continue to perform prayer if he/she stumbles and falls down while praying?

Falling down in prayer does not harm the prayer. A person who falls down while praying for any reason, can resume praying if he/she stands up immediately. There is no need to do anything else in such a situation. However if some time elapses long enough to perform a rukn (about saying subhanallah three times (Glory be to Allah), it is necessary to perform sajdah as-sahw.

94 Is there a hadith stating that the punishment for not performing a single daily prayer is eighty years of hell torture?

We have not found any expressions in any verses or hadiths stating that the punishment of the person who does not perform five daily prayers is eighty years of hell torture.

Scholars emphasized on the meaning of the word "Ahqab" in verse 23 of the chapter of an-Naba 23 "They will dwell therein for ages." and in some narrations expressing that the people of hell will stay there for successive periods of long time.

They said that the singular of this word "Huqub" means forty, seventy, eighty or three hundred, sixty years, etc. The most well-known is eighty years. Most probably, the issue of the eighty-year punishment of not performing a single prayer is evaluated by establishing a connection with this verse.

95 Is the prayer invalidated when three movements are made with one hand while praying? What is the limit of three movements in prayer?

The following rules are given in the books of Furu' for amal kathir (major action) and amal qalil (insignificant action):

1) Amal Kathir is the action of the praying person that makes the onlooker think surely that he/she is not praying; and the action that causes the onlooker doubt whether he is praying or not is amal qalil.

2) The habitual action which is done with two hands is amal kathir. The decree does not change when this is done with one hand: Such as wrapping turban cloth over skullcap and belting. The habitual action which is performed with one hand is amal qalil; such as wearing and removing the skullcap. However, if this repeated thrice, then it will be amal kathir.

3) The successive actions which are done three times is amal kathir; if not it is amal qalil.

4) Amal kathir is the action which is done deliberately.

5) The situation is left to the opinion of the person who is praying. What he considers to be much is amal kathir and what he considers to be little is amal qalil. (Ibn Abidin Trans., Istanbul 1982, II, 537,538)

96 How can a person who has a constant passing wind problem perform wudu (ablution) and does he become a mazur (excused) person in such a situation?

This issue has two aspects.

The First one is that this person has really a health problem. For this reason, he/she must go to a pious expert doctor. If the doctor diagnoses that he/she has a health problem, then this person performs wudu according to the decrees about mazur (excused) people and perform prayers.

The Second one is that the Satan gives waswasa (delusions) to man. Man feels himself as if he has passed wind though he does not in fact. By not heeding this delusion, this person performs his/her prayer; his/her wudu is not invalidated.

97 Will you please give information about qira'ah (recitation) loudly or silently in supererogatory (nafilah) prayers?

A person who performs a prayer alone can perform recitation loudly or silently in the morning (fajr), evening (maghrib) and night (isha) prayers. The rule is the same in nafilah (supererogatory) prayers which are performed at night. However, silent recitation is wajib (obligatory) in prayers of noon (zuhr) and afternoon (asr).

Islamic Catechism Ömer Nasuhi Bilmen

98 Is determining the time for prayers when uttering intention (niyyah) essential while praying with jamaah (in congregation) or singly?

For nafilah (supererogatory) prayers, there is no need to determine the time when uttering intention. It is enough to say, "I intend to pray for the sake of Allah" with tongue or by heart.

In fard prayers, it is essential to determine the time when uttering intention. It should be like this: "I intend to pray the fard of today's zuhr (noon) prayer"...

Determining the time while uttering intention is also essential in Friday, Eid, Janazah (funeral) and Witr prayers.

As for Qada (missed) prayers, the prayer which is to be performed must be uttered. If it is not known, the following intention can be made, "I intend to perform the last missed (Qada) of zuhr (noon) or asr (afternoon) prayer..."

The person who follows the imam must say the following phrase "I'm following the Imam who is ready to pray".

99 Is it permissible for a person who has not performed his missed prayers (qada) to perform tarawih prayer?

There is no prohibition for people who has not performed his missed prayers (qada) to perform tarawih prayer. We advise such people to perform tarawih in Ramadan and qada prayers at other times.

Trying to perform missed prayers is more important and privileged than performing nafilah (supererogatory) prayers. However, regular nafilah prayers (rawatib sunnahs) which are performed along with the daily prescribed prayers and the sunnah prayers of mid-morning, awwabin and tarawih should be performed within the bounds of possibility.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says the following in one of his hadiths; "On the day of resurrection, the first thing that a person will be called to account for is fard prayers. If they are complete, the rest of his accounting will be easy. Otherwise, it will be said, "See whether he/she has any nafilah (supererogatory) or not?". By this way, the missing fard prayers of him/her will be completed with his/her nafilah prayers." (Tirmidhi, Salat, 188; Ibn Majah, Iqama, 202).

So, it is necessary to give importance to sunnah prayers and be attentive to perform them.

Those who belong to Hanafi madhab should perform Tarawih though they have not performed their missed (qada) prayers.

Those who belong to Shafii madhhab should perform qada prayers instead of Tarawih prayers. If they join to the Imam who is performing tarawih, they can perform it by intending for their missed (qada) prayers.

100 There is a hadith as follows: "The thief is the person who steals from his prayer." What is implied in this hadith; what does theft in prayer mean?

The explanation of the prophet (PBUH) regarding the issue is as follows:

"The worst type of thief is the one who steals from his prayer."

The people asked, "O Messenger of Allah, how can a person steal from his prayer?"

"By not doing ruku and sajda properly. This is stealing from prayer. The most miserly of people are those who are stingy with their salaams (i.e., do not greet others).” (Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal, III/70).

So not performing the fards of prayer properly is evaluated as theft from prayer.

It is not true for man to leave tadil al-arkan by excusing the muchness of his work and the lack of time because this will become a habit in time. Hurrying up in salah is against the rules of Islam. Making a sacrifice in works for salah is permissible but it is never a true attitude to make a sacrifice in tadil al-arkan. This is a theft from worship which is the basis of and  benefit of our hereafter.