How did the Prophet (peace be upon him) offer Salah? From the abridged book of Tamam Al Minnah fi Fiqh Al Kitab wa Sahih As-Sunnah of his eminence Sheikh `Adel Al `Azzazy (may Allah reward him)
• The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Offer Salah as you have seen me offering it."
Here are the summary of the Prophet's performance of Salah arranged in a simple way along with some important notes:
1- Standing for Salah:
The one who offers Salah should not sit down while offering the obligatory Salah except if he is unable to stand up or at least after suffering a severe hardship that distracts him while praying; in this case, a person shall take the full reward. As for the voluntary Salah, it is permissible for a person to offer Salah while sitting even if he is capable to stand up but he shall receive half the reward. It is permissible to offer voluntary Salah while riding a mount (such as a car or something else) and the Salah would be performed by bending.
• Let it be known that it is part of the Sunnah to look at the spot of prostration while standing. The condition of standing is the erection of the entire body, so a person may not stand leaning to one of its sides or bowing down, but those who have an excuse may lean on a stick or a wall. It is noted that it is reprehensible to narrow the feet but it is desirable to set them apart and direct his feet fingers to the Qiblah.
2- Then a person should recall intention for Salah in his heart (He should not say: I intend to offer Salah).
3- A person should start with Takbirat-ul-Ihram (Saying Allahu Akbar at the beginning of Salah). A person should not say "Allahu Akbaar" or "Allahu Agbar" or "Allahu wa Akbar." A person should pronounce Takbirat-ul-Ihram while full standing, but if a person pronounces a letter of it while not standing, his Salah is not valid. Therefore, when a person enters the masjid and finds the imam bowing down, he must pronounce Takbir while standing then say another Takbir to move from standing to bowing down so as not to annul his Salah even if this leads to the missing of the Rak`ah; it is only important to avoid the nullification of Salah. Let it be known that Ma'mum (the one who is led in Salah) should not start Takbir but after the imam finishes his Takbir.
4- A person should raise his hand while pronouncing Takbir by closing between his fingers and raising them equal to his shoulders or ears.
5- Then he should place his right hand on the left on his chest.
6- A person should then say Du`a' Al Istiftah by any form such as "Subhanaka Allahumma wabihamdik, Tabaraka Ismuk, wata`ala Jadduka, wa La Ilaha Ghayruk [Glory be Allah and praise be to Him, His name is Exalted, Your Glory has become eminent, and No god but You]."
7- Then a person should pronounce Isti`adhah by saying: "A`udhu billahi Minash-Shaytanir Rajim, Min Hamzihi wa Nafkhihi wa Nafthih [I seek refuge with Allah against the cursed Satan, from his from his evil suggestion (hamz), from his puffing up (nafkh), and from his spitting (nafth)]." or "A`udhu billahis-Sami`il `Alimi Minash-Shaytanir Rajim, Min Hamzihi wa Nafkhihi wa Nafthih [I seek refuge with Allah, the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing against the cursed Satan from his evil suggestion (hamz), from his puffing up (nafkh), and from his spitting (nafth)]."
8- Then a person recites Al Fatihah which is one of the pillars of Salah without which Salah is invalid. It must be recited in every Rak`ah according to the view of scholars. Scholars have differed about the ruling on reciting Al Fatihah for a Ma'mum, and the more likely opinion is: Its recitation is obligatory in every Rak`ah whether the Salah is pronounced or unpronounced and whether the imam leaves some time for reciting it or not.
9- Then a person should say: "Amen" so that Allah would answer to the supplications mentioned at the end of Surat Al Fatihah "Ihdina As-Siratal Mustaqim" [Surat Al Fatihah: 6]. The meaning of "Amen" is "O Allah respond to us." It is desirable that the saying of "Amen" of a Ma'mum matches the "Amen" of the imam because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "When the Imam says Amen, say Amen, for anyone whose Amen coincides with that of the angels all his previous sins will be forgiven."
10- Then a person should recite a Surah after Al Fatihah:
It should be noted that when a person recites from the middle of a Surah, he should not recite Al Basmalah "Saying: Besm Allahir-Rahman Ar-Rahim [in the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful]" which means that he would pronounce Isti`adhah "I seek refuge in Allah against the cursed Satan" then recites the Surah. Let it be known also that the Sunnah is to pause at every Ayah. Let it be known also that it is permissible to recite more than one Surah in the same Rak`ah. It is part of the Sunnah to prolong the first Rak`ah more than the second. It is also noted that the Ma'mum should not recite after his imam but he may recite Al Fatihah in the pronounced Salah, but in the unpronounced Salah, a Ma'mum should recite. Recitation is done by moving the tongue with the lips when pronouncing letters, and it is not permissible to keep silent or recite without moving the lips.
11- Then a person should pronounce Takbir raising his hand as he did in Taskbirat-ul-Ihram:
The more correct for the imam is to say "Allahu Akbar" then bow down and likewise he should do in prostration so as not to be preceded by Musallin (people who perform Salah after the imam). However, if the imam is aged or fat and cannot move fast, he may adopt the second view which is to stretch his voice with "Allahu Akbar" until he bows down but it is wrong to reach the pillar of bowing down or prostration then say "Allahu Akbar." It is better to teach the Musallin the Sunnah so that they would wait for him to pronounce Takbir and reach the pillar of bowing down or prostration. It is desirable for the imam to raise his voice to make the Musallin hear Takbir, but if his voice is low, one the Musallin may raise his voice to make the other Musallin hear.
12- Then a person should bow down because bowing down is a pillar. A person should bow down and place his hands on his knees, set apart between his fingers, make his back straight and should not raise or lower his head while bowing down. It is reprehensible to place his hands on his thighs during bowing down or not making his legs straight, but should make them straight as much as possible. It is prohibited to recite part of the Qur'an during bowing down and prostration.
13- A person must feel comfort while bowing down because feeling comfort is a pillar at the majority of scholars said. Let it be known that feeling comfort requires remaining in bowing down until the organs take its correct positions and pronouncing one time "Subhana Rabbiya Al `Azhim."
14- Then a person should raise his head saying: "Sami`a Allahu Liman Hamidah, Rabbana Laka Al Hamd [Allah listens to those who praise Him. O Lord, You have all praise]" while raising his hand as he did in Takbirat-ul-Ihram. The Prophet (peace be upon him) informed the man who said: "Rabbana Laka Al Hamdu Hamdan Kathiran Tayyiban Mubarakan Fih" that he saw several and thirty angels hastening to record it.
15- Then a person should feel comfort while standing. A person is free to place his right hand on the left or not after standing.
16- Then a person should pronounce Takbir to prostrate. As for the way of prostration, the more correct is to place his hands before his knees whether closing or opening his hands, but we should not rebuke those who place their knees first because the matter is controversial. Let it be known that prostration is one of the pillars of Salah like feeling comfort. It is noted that prostration should be done on seven organs which are: The face [the forehead and the nose together], the hands, the knees, and the feet.
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