On what is required of someone who wishes to enter Islam. Let us begin by stating what is required
of anyone who wishes to enter our religion [din]:
First of all, he must pronounce the two declarations of faith:
ilaha illa'llah: [There is no god but Allah.]
Muhammadur Rasulu'llah. [Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.]
must be completely detached from every religion other than the religion of Islam, and he must firmly believe, with his heart,
in the Uniqueness [wahdaniyya] of Allah (Exalted is He) -- as we shall explain it, if Allah (Exalted is He) so wills -- since
Islam is the religion in the sight of Allah (Exalted is He).
Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said:
in the sight of Allah is surrender (to His will and guidance). (3:19) [inna'd-dina 'inda'llahi'l-islam.]
He has also
said (Exalted is He):
If anyone desires anything other than Islam as a religion, it willnever be accepted of him. (3:85)
[wa man yabtaghi ghaira 'l-islami dinan fa-lan yuqbala min-h.]
If he fulfills this [requirement], he thereby enters
into Islam. It is now unlawful to kill him, to deprive his offspring of their liberty, and to seize his property as booty.
He is also forgiven any previous shortcomings in relation to Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), on account of His words
Tell those who disbelieve that, if they desist, that which is past will be forgiven them. (8:38).
kafaru in yantahu yughfar la-hum ma qad salaf.]
There is also the saying of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him
I have been commanded to do battle with people until they say: "There is no god but Allah [la ilaha illa'llah]."
Then, once they have said it, their blood and their property are inviolable as far as I am concerned, except through due process
of law [illa bi-haqqiha], and the settling of their
accounts is up to Allah.
And there is his saying (Allah bless
him and give him peace):
Islam cuts all connection with that which precedes it in time.
Then the person must
perform the major ablution [ghusl] for the sake of Islam. This requirement is based on the fact that the Prophet (Allah bless
him and give him peace) is reported as having ordered Thumama ibn Athal and Qais ibn 'Asim to perform the major ablution when
they entered Islam [aslama]. According to one report, [he also said]:
Rid yourself of the hair of unbelief, and wash
[the whole body].
Then the person is required to perform the ritual prayer [salat], since faith [iman] is both word
and deed, because the word is a claim and the deed is the proof; the word is a form [sura] and the deed is its spirit [ruh].
Ritual prayer [salat] requires the fulfillment of certain preconditions, namely physical purification
[tahara] with clean water, or tayammum [the use of dust or dry earth] if there is no water available; covering [the private
parts] with a clean garment; standing on a clean spot; facing the Qibla [direction of the Ka'ba in Mecca]; the formulation
of the intention [niyya]; and the arrival of the proper time [within which the performance of a particular prayer is prescribed].
As for ritual purification [tahara], some of the practices associated with it are obligatory duties
[fara'id], while others are recommended customs [sunan].
According to the clear legal doctrine [zahir al-madhhab],
the obligatory elements are ten in number:
1. The intention [niyya]. This means that the person must consciously intend
to remove impurities [hadath] by means of his act of cleansing. If it is a case of tayammum, [his intention must simply be]
to ensure the validity of the ritual prayer, since tayammum does not actually remove impure substances.
is the heart. It is even more meritorious to express the intention with the tongue, together with a firm belief within the
heart, although it is sufficient to confine oneself to the feeling of conviction [i'tiqad].
2. The 'naming' [tasmiya].
This means invoking [the Name of] Allah (Exalted is He) [by saying: "Bismi'llah (In the Name of Allah)"] when one is about
to use water.
3. Rinsing out the mouth [madmada]. This means moving water all around inside the mouth, then spitting
4. Snuffing water up the nostrils [istinshaq].
5. Washing the face. Lengthwise, the surface of the face
extends from the points where hair grows on the head down to the curve of the jawbones and the chin. Breadthwise, it extends
from the tragus of one ear to the tragus of the other.
6. Washing the hands [and the lower arms] up to the elbows.
Rubbing the head. The way to do this is by dipping the hands in water, then raising them [wet but] empty, placing them on
the front part of the head, drawing them to the back of the head, then returning them to their original position.
Washing the feet up to the ankles.
9. Observing the correct sequence [tartib] of all these parts of the body, as enunciated
in His words (Almighty and Glorious is He):
O you who believe! When you get ready for prayer [salat], wash your faces,
and your hands up to the elbows, and lightly rub your heads and (wash) your feet up to the ankles. (5:6)
procedure [muwalat]. This means moving on from one part of the body to the next before the first has had time to get dry.
for those elements that are recommended customs [sunan], they are also ten in number:
1. Washing the palms of the hand
before dipping them into the water-container.
2. [Cleaning and polishing the teeth with] the siwak [tooth stick or
3. Exaggeration in the performance of mouth-rinsing [madmada] and nostril-snuffing [istinshaq], except
when one is keeping a fast.
4. Running one's [wet] fingers through the beard. On this point there are two conflicting
5. Washing the inside of [the area around] the eyes.
6. Beginning with the right [before
6. Dipping one's hands [again] to take fresh water for the ears.
8. Rubbing the neck.
the fingers of each hand between the fingers of the other.
10. The second and third washing [of each part in turn].
As for tayammum, this is done by patting one's hands on clean earth, which has dust that will adhere
to the hand, while intending to ensure the validity of a particular prescribed prayer [salat mafruda]. While invoking the
Name of Allah with one pat [on the dusty earth], the person performing tayammum should leave space between his fingers. Then
he should rub his face with the palm-side of his fingers, and the back of each hand with the palm of the other.
for the major physical purification [tahara kubra], we shall discuss it in the chapter on toilet manners [adab al-khala'],
if Allah (Exalted is He) so
As for the covering to be worn, this should be a clean article of clothing, sufficient to cover the
private parts ['awra] and the shoulders. It can be made of any kind of clothing material except silk, because prayer is invalid
if performed while wearing silk, even if it is clean. The same applies to any garment that has been illegally acquired [maghsub].
PLACE AND DIRECTION OF PRAYER
As for the spot [on which the prayer is to be performed], this must be clear of all impurities. If
the impurity [najasa] on it has been dried by the winds or the sun, and the worshipper spreads a clean rug over it and performs
his prayer on this rug, his prayer will be valid according to one of two [conflicting] traditional reports. The same applies,
according to a report on weak authority [riwaya da'ifa], if the piece of ground has been occupied illegally.
facing the Qibla, this means facing the actual Ka'ba if one is in Mecca or any place in its vicinity. If one is at a distance
from it, however, it means facing in its direction, [as nearly as this can be ascertained] by the exercise of judgment [ijtihad]
and by making the effort to deduce it from all available evidence, such as that provided by the stars, the sun, the winds,
NIYYAH [INTENTION TO PRAY]
As for the intention [niyya], its location is the heart [qalb]. It means being firmly convinced that
Allah (Exalted is He) has prescribed it as one's duty to perform that specific ritual prayer [salat], and to carry out His
obligatory commandment without seeking to make an impression or acquire
a reputation. Then the heart must be present until
one has completed the prayer.
According to a tradition [hadith], the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) once
said to [his wife] 'A'isha (may Allah be well pleased with her):
You get no credit for your ritual prayer [salat] unless
your heart is present in it.
As for the arrival of the proper time [for the performance of a particular ritual prayer],
this must either be known for certain, or- on a day when there is interference from clouds, rough winds and the like -- as
being most probable.
HOW TO PERFORM THE PRAYER
Once all these preconditions have been properly fulfilled, one should enter the [state of] ritual prayer
[salat] by saying:
Allahu Akbar! [Allah is Supremely Great!]
No other words of glorification [ta'zim] may be
used instead of this expression.
The salat contains some elements that are basic essentials [arkan], some that are
necessities [wajibat], others that are recommended practices [masnunat], and yet others that are formal refinements [hai'at].
basic essentials [arkan] are fifteen in number, namely:
1. Standing in an upright posture [qiyam].
2. The consecratory
affirmation of the supreme greatness of Allah [takbirat al-ihram].
3. The recitation of the Opening Sura of the Qur'an
4. Bowing [ruku'].
5. Calm composure [tuma'nina] in the bowing posture.
up [i 'tidal] from the bowing posture.
7. Calm composure in the erect posture resumed after bowing.
9. Calm composure in the posture of prostration.
10. Sitting between the two acts of prostration.
Calm composure in the sitting posture.
12. The final testimony [tashahhud].
13. Adopting the sitting posture
in order to pronounce the final testimony.
14. The invocation of blessing on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give
15. The salutation [taslim].
As for the necessities [wajibat], these are nine in number:
The affirmation of Allah's supreme greatness [takbir] apart from the consecratory affirmation thereof [takbirat al-ihram].
Acknowledging the fact that Allah hears those who praise Him [tasmi'], and then offering praise to Him [tahmid], on rising
from the bowing posture [ruku'].
3,4. The glorification of the Lord [tasbih] each time one adopts the postures of bowing
[ruku'] and prostration [sujud].
5,6. Saying: "Rabbi'ghfir li [My Lord, forgive me]" each time one adopts the sitting
posture [jalsa] between two acts of prostration.
7. The first testimony [tashahhud].
8. Adopting the sitting
posture in order to pronounce the first testimony.
9. Formulating the intention [niyya] to leave the [state of] prayer,
when giving the salutation [taslim].
There are fourteen recommended practices [masnunat]:
1. The introductory
2. Making the plea for refuge [ta'awwudh]. (A'uthu biLLahi min ash-Shaytan ir-Rajeem)
Reciting: "Bismi'llahi'r-Rahmani'r-Rahim [In the Name of Allah, All-Merciful and Compassionate]" (before reciting the Qur'an).
Saying "Amin" (after reciting al-Fatiha).
5. Reciting a Sura [chapter of the Qur'an] (after al-Fatiha).
"Mil 'u's-samawati wa'l-ard [as much as the heavens and the earth contain]" after offering praise to the Lord [tahmid].
Additions to the single glorification of the Lord [tasbiha] in the postures of bowing [ruku'] and prostration [sujud].
Saying: "Rabbi'ghfir li [My Lord, forgive me!]"
9. Prostration on the nose [sujud 'ala'l-anf] (according to one of
two traditional reports).
10. Sitting to rest [jalsat al-istiraha] after performing the two acts of prostration.
Seeking refuge [ta'awwudh] from four things, by saying:
a'udhu bi'llahi min 'adhabi jahannam: [I seek refuge with Allah
from the torment of Hell,]
wa min 'adhabi'l-qabr: [and from the torment of the grave,]
wa min fitnati'l-masihi'd-dajjal:
[and from the mischiefof the False Messiah,]
wa min fitnati'l-mahya wa'l-mamat. [and from the mischief of life and
12. Making supplication [du'a'], using the expressions handed down in the traditions [akhbar], after one has
invoked blessing on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in the final testimony [tashahhud].
13. The expressions
of devotion [qunut] in the supererogatory night-prayer [witr].
14. The second salutation [taslima] (according to a
weakly authenticated traditional report [riwaya da'ifa]).
The formal refinements [hai'at] are twenty-five in number:
Raising the hands at the outset, as well as when moving into the bowing posture [ruku'], and when rising from the latter.
means that the hands are raised close to the shoulders, the thumbs are held beside the earlobes, and the tips of the fingers
next to the upper parts of the ears. Then the hands are lowered again.
4. Placing the right hand over the left above
5. Fixing one's gaze on the place of prostration.
6. Reciting in an audible voice [jahran].
Saying "Amin" in an audible voice.
8,9. Reciting and saying "Amin" under one's breath.
10. Placing the hands
on the knees in the bowing posture [ruku'].
11,12. Stretching the back straight-and holding the upper arms clear of
the sides-while adopting the bowing posture.
13,14. Setting the knee down first, then the hand, when making the prostration
15,16. Also in the prostration: Keeping the stomach clear of the thighs, and keeping the thighs clear of the
shanks [legs below the knees].
17. Keeping the knees apart during the prostration.
18. Also during the prostration:
Placing the hands level with the shoulders.
19,20. Spreading the legs under one [iftirash] while in the sitting posture
[julus] between the two acts of prostration and during the first testimony [tashahhud].
21. Resting on the thighs [tawarruk]
during the second testimony.
22-24. Placing the clenched right hand on the right thigh, pointing with the index finger,
and holding the other fingers so that they form a circle with the thumb in the middle.
25. Placing the left hand, spread
out flat, on the left thigh.
If one fails to satisfy any of the preconditions we mentioned at the beginning, without
an acceptable excuse, the ritual prayer [salat] cannot be performed.
If one omits a basic essential [rukn], whether
on purpose or through lack of attention, the salat will be rendered invalid.
If one omits a necessary element [wajib]
because of absent-mindedness, validity can be restored by performing the prostration of absentmindedness [sujud as-sahw],
but if the omission is deliberate, the salat will be null and void.
If one omits a recommended practice [sunna] or
a formal refinement, the salat is not rendered invalid, nor is an extra prostration required.