Episode 5: Attentiveness and Reciting AL-Faatihah

    (41) He must have humility and attentiveness in his Prayer, and should avoid everything that may divert his attention, whether it be designs or decoration. Nor should he pray when food that he desires has been served, nor whilst he is having to withhold urine or faeces.
    (42) Whilst standing he should look towards the place of his prostration.
    (43) He should not turn to the right or the left, since his turning aside will be something that Satan snatches away and steals from the person's Prayer.
    (44) It is not allowed for him to raise his sight to the sky.

    THE OPENING SUPPLICATION (Du'aa al-Istiftaah)
    (45) Then he should begin by reciting one of the supplications established from the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him), and they are many. The most well-known is:
Subhaanak-Allaahumma, wa biham-dika, wa tabaarakasmuka, wa ta'aalaa jadduka, wa laa ilaaha ghayruka
    I declare You free and far removed from all imperfections, O Allaah, and all praise is for You. Blessed is Your Name. Great and Exalted is Your Kingdom. None has the right to be worshipped besides You.
    The command for this is established, so one should be careful to do

    THE RECITATION (al-Qiraa'ah)
    (46) Then he must seek refuge with Allaah, the Most High, and it is an obligation, he will be sinful if he leaves it.
    (47) The Sunnah is that he should sometimes say:
    A'oodhu billaahi min ash-Shaytaan-ir-Rajeem [min hamzihi, wa nafkhihi, wa nafthihi]
    I seek refuge with Allaah from Satan, the Rejected One [from the insanity he brings about, from his arrogance and from his evil poetry].
    (48) Or that he says:
    A'oodhu billaah-is-Samee'-il-'Aleem min ash-Shaytaan-ir-Rajeem min hamzihi, wa nafkhihi, wa nafthihi
    I seek refuge with Allaah, the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing, from Satan, the Rejected One, from the insanity he brings about, from his arrogance and from his evil poetry.
    (49) Then he should say quietly, in both loud and silent Prayers:
    In the Name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower o f Mercy.
    (50) Then he recites the whole of Soorah al-Faatihah, and (Bismillaah …) is an aayah from it. This is a pillar (rukn), and the Prayer will not be correct without it. So it is obligatory upon even those who do not know Arabic that they memorize it.
    (51) But one who is still unable to recite it, then it is sufficient for him to say:
    Subhaan-Allaah, wal-hamdulillaah, wa laa ilaaha illallaah, wallaahu Akbar, wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaa billaah
    I declare Allaah free and far removed from all imperfections, and all praise is for Allaah, and Allaah is greater and no power except by the Will of Allah.
    (52) The Sunnah, when reciting it, is to read it aayah by aayah. One should pause after each aayah. So he says:
    In the Name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
    Then he pauses ... then he says:
    Al-Hamdu lillaahi Rabbil-'Aalameen
    All praise is for Allaah, the Lord of all the creation.
    Then he pauses ... then he says:
    The Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.
    Then he pauses ... then he says:
    Maaliki Yawmid-Deen
    Owner o f the Day of Recompense.
    Then he pauses, he does likewise until he completes it.
    The whole of the Prophet's peace and blessings be upon him recitation would be like this. He would stop at the end of each aayah, and not join it together with the aayah after it, even if they were connected in meaning.
    (53) It is permissible to recite either “Maaliki” ... Owner of the Day of Recompense, or “Maliki” ... King of the Day of Recompense.
    (54) It is obligatory that the one praying behind an imaam also recites it in quiet Prayers. He should also recite it in loud Prayers if he cannot hear an imaam reciting, or if it happens that the imam remains silent after his own recitation in order to enable the follower to recite it. However, it is our view that this period of silence is not established from the Sunnah13.
    (55) It is from the Sunnah that after reciting al-Faatihah, he recites another Soorah - even in the Funeral Prayer, or that he recites some aayahs, in the first two rak'ahs.
    (56) He may sometimes lengthen the recitation after it and shorten it at other times, due to the needs of travel, having a cough and cold, being ill or due to the crying of a child.
    (57) The length of recitation will vary according to the different Prayers. So generally, the recitation in the Dawn (Fajr) Prayer is longer than the recitation in any of the other Prayers. Next comes the Zuhr, then the 'Asr and the Maghrib, then the 'Ishaa.
    (58) The recitation in the (optional) Night Prayer (Salaatul-Layl) is longer than any of those.
    (59) The Sunnah is also to make the recitation in the first rak'ah longer than the recitation in the second rak'ah.
    (60) Also that he makes the recitation in the last two rak'ahs shorter
than that in the first two, by about a half14.
    (61) It is obligatory that he recites al-Faatihah in every rak'ah.
    (62) It is from the Sunnah that he sometimes recites something in addition to it in the last two rak'ahs also.
    (63) It is not allowed for the imaam to prolong the recitation more than what occurs in the Sunnah. By doing so he would cause difficulty to some of those who may be praying behind him, such as old people, sick people, nursing mothers and those who have needs to attend to.

    11) Whoever wishes to see the rest of the opening supplications then let him refer to Sifatus-Salaat, pp. 14-19 of the translation.
    13) I say (Sheikh Muhammad Naasirud-deen al-Albaanee): I have mentioned the evidence used by those who support it, along with its rebuttal in Silsilatul-Ahaadeethid-Da'eefah, nos. 546 and 547
    14) For the details of this chapter, refer, if you wish, to Sifatus-Salaat, (pp. 25-39 of the translation).



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