hadith is related by an-Nasa’i, Ibn Hibban and at-Tahawi with a Sahih chain
according to the criterion of the two Sahihs.
3. It is not a verse of al-Fatihah or of any other surah. It is disliked to recite it aloud or quietly during the obligatory prayers, but not for the superogatory prayers. This opinion, however, is not strong.
Ibn al-Qayyim has reconciliated the first and second opinions by saying, “Sometimes the Prophet would recite it aloud, but most of the time he would say it quietly and not aloud.”
Obligatory acts of prayer, One Who Cannot Recite Properly
Says al-Khattabi, “Basically, one’s prayer does not suffice if he does not recite al-Fatihah. If one can recite neither al-Fatihah nor other portions of the Qur’an, he should recite at least seven verses of a similar meaning from the Qur’an. If he cannot learn any part of the Qur’an (due to some innate inability, poor memory, or because it’s a foreign language), he should say the tasbeeh (Subhaan Allah - Glory be to Allah), the tamheed (al-Hamdu lillah - All praise is due to Allah), and tahleel (La ilaha illallah - There is no God except Allah). It is related that he said, “The best remembrance after the speech of Allah is Subhaan Allah, al-Hamdu lillah, La ilaha illal-lah and Allahu akbar.” This is supported by Rafa’ah ibn Rafa’, who narrated that the Prophet said, “If you have something from the Qur’an, recite it. If not, then say the tamheed, takbir and the tahleel and then bow.”
This hadith is related by Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi, an-Nasa’i and al-Baihaqi. The former considers it as Hassan.
Obligatory acts of prayer, Ar-Ruku’ (Bowing Down)
There is a consensus on the obligatory nature of the Ruku’. Says Allah, “O you, who believe, bow down and prostrate yourselves...” The position of ruku’ is established by bending over, putting one’s hands on one’s knees, and remaining in that position until he attains “calmness.” In another hadith the Prophet said, “Then bow until you attain calmness while you are bowing.” Abu Qatadah related that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, “The worst people are the thieves who steal part of the prayer.” He was asked how this was done, and he replied, “He does not complete his bowings and prostrations,” or he said, “He does not straighten his back during his bowings and prostrations.”
As to its authenticity, the report is related by Ahmad, at-Tabarani, Ibn Khuzaimah and al-Hakim, who consider its chain as Sahih.
Abu Mas’ud al-Badri reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said, “The prayer of one who does not straighten his back in his bendings and prostrations is not accomplished.” This hadith is related by “the five,’’ and Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban, at-Tabarani and al-Baihaqi, who consider its chain as Sahih, while at-Tirmizhi grades it as hassan Sahih.
Knowledgeable companions act according to the principle that a person is to make his back straight during his bowings and prostrations. Huzhaifah saw someone who did not straighten his back during his bowings and prostrations, and told him, “You have not prayed. And if you were to die, you would not die in the way of Allah and His Messenger.” (Related by al-Bukhari.)
Obligatory acts of prayer, Standing Erect After the Bowing
This is based on Abu Humaid’s description of the Prophet’s prayer: “He would raise his head from his bowing, then stand straight until all of his backbones returned to their places.” (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
‘Aishah related that when the Prophet raised his head from bowing, he would not prostrate until his back was straight. (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said, “Allah does not look at the prayer of a person who does not straighten his back between his bowings and his prostrations.” (Related by Ahmad. al-Munzhiri considers its chain as good.)
Obligatory acts of prayer, Prostration
We have already stated the Qur’anic verse dealing with this obligatory act. The Prophet explained it in a hadith by saying, “Then prostrate until you attain calmness in your prostration, then rise (and sit) until you attain calmness in your sitting, and then prostrate until you gain calmness in your prostration. The first prostration, sitting afterwards, the second prostration and calmness during all of these acts are obligatory in every rak’ah of every obligatory or superogatory prayer.
Obligatory acts of prayer, How to Attain Calmness
The “calmness” comes from sitting in the position until the bones are set and still. Some scholars say that, at a minimum, this would take as long as it takes to say one Subhaan Allah.
Obligatory acts of prayer, Bodily Parts That Touch the Ground During Prostration
These parts are: the face, hands, knees and feet. Al-’Abbas ibn ‘Abdul-Mutallib reported that he heard the Prophet say, “When a slave (of Allah) prostrates, seven bodily parts prostrate with him: his face, his hands, his knees and his feet.” (Related by “the group,” except for al-Bukhari.) Said Ibn ‘Abbas, “The Prophet ordered us to prostrate on seven bodily parts and not to fold back the hair or clothing: the forehead, the hands, the knees and the feet.” In another wording, the Prophet said, “I have been ordered to prostrate on seven bodily parts: the forehead and he pointed to his nose, the hands, the knees and the ends of the feet.” (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.) In another narration, he said, “I have been ordered to prostrate on seven bodily parts and not to fold back the hair or clothing: the forehead, the nose, the hands, the knees and the feet.” (Related by Muslim and an-Nasa’i.)
Abu Humaid reported that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, prostrated, he placed his nose and forehead on the ground. This hadith is related by Abu Dawud and at-Tirmizhi who said, “The scholars act according to this: a person prostrates on his nose and forehead.” According to some scholars, if one prostrates on just the forehead without the nose touching the ground, it will still be sufficient. Others say that it would not be sufficient until his nose touches the ground.
To be continued