acts of prayer, Reciting Behind an Imam
One’s prayer is not accepted unless al-Fatihah is recited in every rak’ah. But, one who is praying behind an imam is to keep quiet while the imam is reciting aloud, as Allah says in the Qur’an, “When the Qur’an is recited, listen and remain silent that you may attain mercy.” The Prophet, upon whom be peace, also said, “When the imam makes the takbir, (you too) make the takbir. When he recites, be silent.” (Related by Muslim.) One hadith states, “Whoever is praying behind an imam, the imam’s recital is his recital. If the imam reads quietly, then all of the followers must also make their own recital. If one cannot hear the imam’s recital, he must make his own recital.
Commenting on this subject, Abu Bakr al-’Arabi says, “What we see as the strongest opinion is that one must recite during the prayers in which the imam’s recital is subdued. But, during the prayers where the imam recites aloud, one may not recite. This is based on the following three proofs:
1.This was the practice of the people of Madinah,
2. It is the ruling of the Qur’an, as Allah says, “When the Qur’an is recited, listen and remain silent,” and
3.This is supported by two hadith: one from ‘Imran ibn Hussain states, ‘I know that some of you compete with me (in my recital...),’ and ‘If it is recited, you should listen.’ The preceding hadith is the weightiest position according to the following argument: If one cannot recite along with the imam, then when can one recite? If one says, ‘While he is silent,’ then we say, ‘It is not necessary for him to be silent,’7 so how can something that is obligatory be dependent on something that is not obligatory? But we have found a way in which the person may ‘recite’ with the imam, and that is the recitation of the heart and of concentrating on what is being recited. This is the method of the Qur’an and the hadith, and the way the worship has been preserved. It is also part of following the Sunnah. One is to act by what is the strongest (opinion). This was also the choice of az-Zuhri and Ibn al-Mubarak, and it is a statement from Malik, Ahmad and Ishaq. Ibn Taimiyyah supports it and shows it to be the strongest opinion.
Sunnah acts of prayer, Making the Takbir upon Moving from Position to Position
It is Sunnah to make the takbir upon every rising, lowering, standing or sitting, except when one comes up from bowing, in which case one should say, “Allah hears him who praises Him.” Reported Ibn Mas’ud, “I saw the Messenger of Allah make the takbir upon every lowering, rising, standing and sitting.” This is related by Ahmad, an-Nasa’i and at-Tirmizhi, who called it shaih.
Says at-Tirmizhi, “The companions of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, including Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali and others, acted according to this hadith, as did their followers and the majority of the jurists and scholars.” Abu Bakr ibn ‘Abdurahman ibn al-Harith reported that he heard Abu Hurairah say, “When the Prophet, upon whom be peace, stood for prayer, he would make the takbir while standing. Then he made the takbir while bowing. When coming up from the bowing, he would say, “Sami’Allahu liman hamidah (Allah hears him who praises Him). While standing, he would say, “Rabbana lakal-hamd (Our Lord, to You is the praise).” Then he would say, “Allahu Akbar” when he would go down for the prostration, when he raised his head, and when he stood from his sitting after the two prostrations. He did that in every rak’ah until he finished the prayer. He prayed in that manner until he left this world.” (Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawud.)
‘Ikrimah said to Ibn ‘Abbas, “I prayed the noon prayer in al-Butha behind a foolish old man. He would make twelve takbirs by saying it when he prostrated and when he raised his head.” Ibn ‘Abbas said, “That is the prayer of Abu al-Qasim (the Prophet).” (Related by Ahmad and al-Bukhari.) It is preferable to start the takbir when one begins one’s changing of position.
Sunnah acts of prayer, The Manner of Bowing
When one bows, one’s hands must reach one’s knees. It is Sunnah to make the height of the head equal to that of the hips. The hands should be supported by the knees and should be apart from one’s sides. The hands should be open upon one’s knees and thighs, and the palms should be flat. It is reported that ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amr would bow with his arms separated, his hands on his knees, and his fingers opened beyond his knees. He said, “This is how I saw the Messenger of Allah pray.” (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i.)
Abu Humaid reported that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, bowed, he would be straight, his head neither up nor down (with respect to his hips), and he would place his hands on his knees as if he was holding them.” (Related by an-Nasa’i.)
Muslim records ‘Aishah reporting that when the Prophet bowed, his head would be neither risen nor lowered, but rather between those two positions. Said ‘Ali, “If you put a cup of water on the back of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, while he was bowing, its contents would not spill.” This is related by Ahmad. Abu Dawud recorded it in his Kitab al-Muraseel.
Said Mus’ab ibn Sa’d, “I prayed next to my father. I joined both of my hands and put them between my thighs (while bowing). He stopped me and said, ‘We used to do that, but were later ordered (by the Prophet) to put our hands on our knees.”’ (Related by “the group.”)
Sunnah acts of prayer, The Remembrance of Allah During the Bowing
It is preferred to remember Allah with the following words, “Subhana Rabiyy al-’Azheem (Glory to my Lord, the Great.)” Reported ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amr, “When ‘Glorify the name of your Lord, the Great,’ was revealed, the Prophet told us, ‘Do so in your bowings.” This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and others with a good chain.
Reported Huzhaifah, “I prayed with the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and while bowing he would say, ‘Subhana Rabiyy al-’Azheem.” (Related by Muslim, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, at-Tirmizhi and Ibn Majah.)
The phrase Subhana Rabiyy al-’Azheem wa bihamdihi has been related through a number of chains, but all of them are weak. Ash-Shaukani maintains, “The different chains support each other. It is perfectly acceptable for one who is praying to limit himself to Subhana Rabiyy al-’Azheem or to add one of the following:
1.Ali reported that while bowing, the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, would say, “O Allah, for You have I bowed, and it is You that I have believed in and to You have I submitted. You are my Lord. My hearing, sight, marrow, bones and nerves and what is carried by my feet are for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.” (Related by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud and others.)
2. ‘Aishah reported that while bowing and prostrating, the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, would say, “Glorified and Holy are You, Lord of the angels and the souls.”
3. Reported ‘Auf ibn Malik, “I prayed with the Messenger of Allah one night. He recited al-Baqarah and while bowing said, ‘Glory be to the One of Omnipotence, the Master of the dominions, of grandeur and of honor.”’ (Related by Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizhi and an-Nasa’i .)
4. ‘Aishah said that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, bowed or prostrated, he would often say, “Glory and praise be to You, O Allah, our Lord. O Allah, forgive me.” This was how he applied the Qur’an. (Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, Muslim and others.)
Sunnah acts of prayer, What Is Said Upon Rising From Bowing and Standing
It is preferred for the one who is praying, whether he be the imam, follower or praying by himself, to say, “Allah hears him who praises Him,” upon coming up from the bowing. When he is standing straight, he should say, “Our Lord, and to You is the praise,” or “O Allah, Our Lord, and to You is the praise.” Abu Hurairah reported that when the Prophet, upon whom be peace, rose from bowing he would say, “Allah hears him who praises Him,” and while standing (straight) he would say, “Our Lord, and to You is the praise.” (Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
To be continued