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Salât-ut-Tasbîh (Prayer of Glorification)

    It is related that once the Prophet ( ) said to his beloved uncle, ‘Abbâs ibn ‘Abd-ul-Muttalib:



    “O ‘Abbâs! O my dear uncle! Should I not present you a gift? Should I not bestow something to you? Should I not inform you of something greatly beneficial? Should I not show you such an act which, if you render it, Allâh will forgive all your sins, old and new, those committed in error and those committed deliberately, those small or large, committed in secrecy or openly? [This act is] that you pray four rak’ât (Salât-ut-Tasbîh) … (he described the method)” After describing the details of its performance, he said: “If possible, perform this prayer daily. If you cannot do that, then do it every week, or every month. And if you cannot do that, then perform it once a year and if you cannot even do this, then perform it at least once in your lifetime.” [M-1252, from Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah and Bayhaqi with similar report in Tirmidhi]

    There are specific details regarding how one is to perform this special nafl prayer, involving the recitation of large quantities of tasbîhs (glorifications of Allâh) in parts of the prayer. We have not included those in this article.

    Regarding the authenticity of this prayer, Tirmidhi states,

    “Multiple hadîth have been narrated from the Prophet ( ) regarding the Salât-ut-Tasbîh. Although the chains of narrators of these are not sahîh, the practice of this prayer has been narrated by (‘Abdullâh) Ibn-ul-Mubârak and more than one of the reliable people of knowledge- [they have enjoined its practice] and mentioned its benefits.”

    Thus, the scholars have written that although the chains of narration may be weak, due to the number of different sources of narration, it is not correct to claim that it is an innovation (bid’ah) or that it is against the sunnah. And Allâh knows best. [DT p. 250]


Salât-ut-Taubah (Prayer of Repentence)

    Salât-ut-Taubah consists of 2 rak’ât nafl which should be performed after one mistakenly commits a sin. After performing the 2 rak’ât, one should raise one’s hands sincerely and humbly in du’â (supplication) and repent with true and abundant repentance. One should have the sincere intention of avoiding that sin in the future. It is reported from Abu Bakr, the Truthful (Allâh be pleased with him) that the Prophet ( ) said:

    “There is no person who commits a sin and then afterwards purifies himself and stands and offers prayer and seeks sincere forgiveness of Allâh except that Allâh forgives him.” [M-1248, from Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah]


Salât-us-Safar (Prayer Before and After Journey)

    When setting out on a journey, one should perform 2 rak’ât of nafl prayer before leaving home. Also, after returning from the journey, it is sunnah or mustahab to first go to the masjid and offer 2 rak’ât of prayer before going home.

    When the Prophet ( ) used to return from a journey, he would first go to the masjid and pray in it 2 rak’ât. [RS-988, agreed upon]


Salât-ul-Istikhârah (Prayer Seeking Goodness and Advice)

    “Istikhârah” means to seek goodness. This prayer is a way of seeking advice from Allâh. It consists of 2 rak’ât of nafl to be performed when one intends to embark on some venture or project. Following the prayer, one should make the supplication which is mentioned in the hadîth of the Prophet ( ).

    Hadrat Jâbir (Allâh be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet ( ) used to teach us [to perform] Istikhârah in all our affairs, just as he used to teach us chapters of the Qur’ân. He would say, “When one of you intends a matter, he should pray 2 superogatory rak’ât of prayer, and then say…”- he mentioned further the supplication to be offered. [M-1247, from Bukhari]

    Note, however, that one should not offer this type of prayer frivolously.


Salât-ul-Hâjah (Prayer for Need)

    When someone is in need or in difficulty, the Prophet ( ) said that the person should perform wudű’ perfectly and completely and then perform 2 rak’ât of prayer. After completing that, he should praise Allâh abundantly and pray for blessings upon the Messenger of Allâh (). Then, he should make a fervent du’â for the fulfillment of the need. [KS; TD p.54, from Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah]


Salât-ul-Istisqâ’ (Prayer for Rain)

    In the event of severe drought, this special prayer is performed. “Istisqâ” means to petition for water. The prayer consists of 2 rak’ât performed in congregation, without adhân or iqâmah. The entire Muslim community should go to the outskirts of the city, on foot and wearing extremely simple and humble clothing. The imâm leads the prayer loudly and then recites 2 khutbahs just as on ‘Eid. After the khutbahs, the imâm faces the Qiblah, raises his hands and petitions Allâh for rain. All those present also make du’â. This procedure is repeated for three consecutive days. The complete details of how the Prophet () performed this type of prayer are to be found in the books of hadîth and fiqh. See, for example, [M-1410-1424; T-540-543; KS; BZ]

    According to Imâm Abu Hanîfah there is no sunnah prayer specifically for rain, only supplication. However, the ruling is upon that of his students, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad, on this point who ruled that it is indeed supported by the various traditions. Imâm Shâfi’i and Imâm Mâlik  also support it. [Al-Hadis. v.3. p.500]


Salât-ul-Kusűf and Khusűf

    At the time of a solar eclipse (kusűf), 2 rak’ât of prayer are sunnah. This prayer should be offered in congregation, led by the imâm of Jumu’ah or the ruler or his deputy. The recitation is done inaudibly but it should be exceptionally long (eg. Sűrah Baqarah). After the salât, the imâm and the followers should engage in making du’â until the eclipse disappears.


    “When there was a solar eclipse during the time of the Prophet ( ), he prayed and the people prayed with him (in congregation). He stood for a long time, for example, to recite the Sűrah Baqarah, and then performed a long rukű’. [The hadîth goes on to describe how he also made the rukű’ and sujűd very long.] When he finished the prayer, the sun had come out again and he said, “Truly the sun and moon are two signs from the signs of Allâh- they do not eclipse due to the death or birth of any person (this was a superstition at the time). So, when you witness them, remember Allâh (during them).” [M1396, agreed upon]

    At the time of a lunar eclipse (khusűf) it is also sunnah to offer 2 rak’ât of lengthy prayer. However, it is not sunnah to offer this in congregation or in the masjid. It should be done at home. [BZ; KS, as in Hidâyah]



    At the time of great fear (khauf) due to an enemy, disasters or other calamities, two or more rak’ât of prayer should be offered. [KS]

    If the Muslims are faced with an enemy, there there are special procedures for praying in two groups, or praying while riding on an animal, etc. These situations have been described in the hadîth. [See M1336-1341. Also BZ and Hidayah]


Qunűt Nâzilah

    This is a du’â which is recited when some portion of the Muslim community or nation is afflicted with calamity or disaster. This supplication is recited only in Fajr salât after coming up from the rukű’ in the second rak’ât. One remains in the qaumah (standing) position with hands at the sides and recites an appropriate supplication. [KS p.97; DT p.166-171] Note, whereas qunűt nâzilah is offered audibly after the rukű’, the qunűt in Witr is offered quietly before the rukű’ of the third rak’ah.

    For example, Hadrat Anas (Allâh be pleased with him) reported that,

    The Prophet ( ) had sent seventy reciters of the Qur’ân (to a tribe of the desert Arabs for their education) and they were killed treacherously. So the Messenger of Allâh ( ) performed qunűt after the rukű’ for a month, invoking curses upon them. [M-1289, agreed upon]



    When a Muslim is about to be killed, it is mustahab for him to offer 2 rak’ât of salât and make du’â to Allâh for forgiveness. This is so that this prayer will be his last action in the world.

    Once the Messenger of Allâh () sent a group of his companions to a certain place in order to teach the Qur’ân. On the way, they were captured by the disbelievers of Makkah. All of them were killed on the spot, except for Hadrat Khubayb (Allâh be pleased with him). They took him to Makkah in a great procession and executed him with pomp and ceremony. When he was about to be martyred, he asked permission to offer 2 rak’ât of prayer. From that time, the offering of this salât became mustahab. [BZ p. 177]


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Last modified 08/12/05 09:25 AM - Iqra - ISSN #1062-2756