Fatawa >Section Two: Prayer -- Chapter Three : General Guidelines of Prayers


Section Two: Prayer -- Chapter Three : General Guidelines of Prayers

We have already discussed the types of prayer, be it obligatory or voluntary, daily or otherwise, the format of each type, and the rules governing each type. We have also discussed that all prayers have certain features in common; this we have mentioned in broad terms.

Here we will dwell on all aspects of prayers. For example, we now know that ruku’ is a general feature of prayer. But how precisely should it be done so that it can be deemed correct?  How low should the worshipper bow down?  What sorts of utterances can the worshipper safely embark on while in ruku’? What is the alternative if the worshipper cannot do ruku’ due to illness or the like?

These are the areas we are going to deal with here; we will discuss the general requisites first, then the main or general parts of prayer.

As you may know, we have already discussed, in the Chapters dedicated to Taharah, that for prayer to be accepted certain conditions have to be fulfilled, in that the worshipper has to be in a state of taharah both in body and in attire; there has to be wudhu or ghusl in certain cases.

In this Chapter, we will discuss the remaining conditions in some detail:


 1.generally speaking, qiblah means direction. Technically, though, it is the direction where the Holy Ka’ba is situated. Allah, Glorified is He, has ordained that in prayer we should set our faces in that direction.

As a result of making it a qiblah for all Muslims, the Holy Ka’ba has become a symbol for their unity and one of the main features of the identity of the Muslim Ummah. All Muslims, irrespective of their persuasions, turn to that focal point as an expression of unity in essence and goal.

The Holy Ka’ba is not a qiblah as a building, rather a site that extends both upward and downward. That is, if you were aboard a plane and wanted to say prayer, it would suffice to face the qiblah. If you were in a lower ground floor or in a basement and wanted to pray, you can still face the Ka’ba.

Since the earth is a globe, you can seldom have a straight line between the worshipper in prayer and the Holy Ka’ba, in that most of what you get is a curve. The yardstick of setting one’s face in the direction of the qiblah is for the worshipper to choose the shortest of the earth’s curvatures nearest to where they are and the Holy Ka’ba.

Suppose your place is situated north of the qiblah, i.e. some one quarter of the distance away from the Equator. To determine the direction of Ka’ba, you have to be standing facing south; facing north will not yield the same result. That is because the curvature that sets you apart from Ka’ba in the first instance is equal to one quarter of the earth’s diameter, whereas in the second instance, the curvature sets you apart by three quarters the distance. Thus, the first line is shorter and through it the true facing of the qiblah is materialized.

Setting one’s face in the direction of qiblah is a prerequisite for the acceptance of the five obligatory daily prayers in all their parts, including the forgotten ones thereof, which are performed after the prayer has been completed (precautionary ruku’, but not sujood-as-sahu )Prostration for error).

Facing the qiblah is also obligatory in all the other types of prayer, be they wajib or mustahab, such as ayat prayer and prayer for the dead.

2.There are some exceptions though, e.g. in a supererogatory prayer said while the person is in motion. The same applies to a passenger in a car, ship, or plane while in motion. If the supererogatory prayer is said while the worshipper is not in any of the previous situations, i.e. stationary, it is not known that their prayer is valid, unless they faced the qiblah, as is customary in any obligatory daily prayer...

How can the worshippers be sure that they are facing the qiblah?

3.It goes without saying that those living close to the Holy Ka’ba, such as the worshippers in the sanctuaryof the Grand Mosque where the Ka’ba takes a center stage, are in a position to ascertain with a degree of ease the direction of qiblah and as a result set their face towards it. Those who live at a great distance from the Ka’ba may face some difficulty in ascertaining the right position of the qiblah;  and as the distance between their place of domicile or work grows bigger the difficulty becomes more acute.

To overcome this difficulty, people, in Iraq for instance, depended for some time on the compass to determine the location of Mecca where the Ka’ba is. By pinpointing South and North points, the direction of the Ka’ba can be identified. That is, roughly in the South. However, for the near-exact location, the degree of skewness of Mecca away from the South, because it does not geographically  lie exactly in that direction, was taken into account. It was further noticed that there was a degree of imprecision between the magnetic South to which the hand in the compass points and the geographic South according to which the degree of skewness of any given country lie away from the South.

In the light of these discoveries a special compass, used by the worshippers for verifying the direction of the Ka’ba, has been introduced.

Acting according to this compass is permissible and therefore acceptable.

4.Should the worshipper who lives far away not be in a position to determine the direction of the Ka’ba, they can rely on any of the following ways:

a. The testimony, or information, of other Muslims of probity.

b. What Muslims used to know as the direction of the qiblah, especially the location of the prayer niche, usually pointing to the qiblah, in their mosques.

c. What Muslims used to practice in burying their dead, where the dead body is usually laid to rest on its right side, facing the qiblah;  the graves in a cemetery is another indicator to the direction of the qiblah.

However, it is permissible for worshippers to rely on these devices, provided that they do not have any information that the devices are erroneous.

5.  Personal investigation:  

Should none of the previous tools be available to the persons concerned, it is obligatory on them to do their best in endeavoring to find the direction of the qiblah. Acting on the basis of an informed guess by observing the distinguishing marks and the evidence would be in order. In this particular case, if a knowledgeable trustworthy person informs them of the direction of the qiblah, they are free to rely on the information of that person. That is, if their own investigation did not lead them to an informed guess about the direction of the qiblah, or such an informed guess concurred with the person’s information.

A situation may arise in that the informed guess of the worshippers could lead them to a different direction from that of the trustworthy person and that they remained wed to their own conviction. In such a situation, they have, in order to absolve themselves of the responsibility, to say their prayer twice, once in the direction they themselves believe to be the right one and another in the direction they were informed of by the trustworthy person. However, we are more inclined to recommend that the worshipper should rely on the information provided by the trustworthy person, and thus a prayer said in that direction would suffice.

Should the mukallaf exhaust all avenues only to come to nothing, not even guesswork, one prayer said in any direction they choose would do. That is, if all directions yield the same level of ambiguity; should this not be the case, in that there may be some directions, which are less ambiguous, they have to act according to that which is less ambiguous.

Example: The mukallaf may be inclined to think that there may be a more than 50% chance that the qiblah may lie in one of two directions. In such a case, they have to say their prayer facing one of these two directions.

Veering from the Qiblah

6.The prayer is deemed batil, should they realize that they had said it not facing the qiblah. That is, regardless of whether they knew that Allah had ordained that it be said in the direction of the qiblah or they were ignorant of the rule. However, should they be unaware of the rule and their realization was that they were standing either to the left or right of the correct direction, the ruling in considering their prayer batil is based on obligatory precaution.

7.Once they finished their prayer, which they mistakenly thought was performed in the right direction, what should they  do?

A. If they found out after the prayer time for that particular prayer was already up, such a prayer should be in order;  accordingly, they do not have to incur anything. Should they  realize their mistake while there is still time for prayer, they have to repeat it. That is, if the degree of digression from the qiblah was great to the extent that it might have been to their right or their left or their hind. If the degree of deviation was less than that, no repeat prayer should be required.

8.What if the worshippers realized the mistake while the prayer is still in progress?

A. Should the digression be great, as explained in the previous answer, the prayer has to be cut short and a repeat prayer must ensue.Otherwise, the worshippers must correct the angle at the moment they knew of the problem;  thus their prayer should be deemed valid, i.e.they do not have to repeat it.

2.What Should be Worn during Prayer

 9.It is obligatory on a man embarking on prayer to wear what covers his private parts, irrespective of whether the prayer was performed in  private or in public. This is the minimum of clothing required in prayer, i.e. a man is not allowed to pray naked.

For a woman, all her body must be covered apart from the face, the hands, and the feet. This covering is obligatory in all prayers, except when performing prayer for the dead; it is also obligatory in precautionary ruku’, and the forgotten parts of prayer, but not sujood-as-sahu.

10. In an emergency, for a man to say prayer, it is sufficient that he wears one garment covering the anterior and the posterior; it also suffices if he wears a wrapper round his waist or a pair of trousers.

11.Women should cover all their body including the hair, except the face and the hands up to the wrists, and the feet up to the ankles, from the front as well as the back. On this basis, a woman may wear a garment capable of covering her body and a scarf to cover her head and neck;  indeed, she may wear one gown if it was designed to cover all that which must be covered of her body.

12.Transparent clothes, which can barely cover the color of the skin, would not do as a substitute for the proper clothing required in prayer.

13.If the worshippers do not have clothes, it is obligatory on them to cover themselves with anything that could provide a cover, such as tree leaves or mud. There and then they can say their prayer.

14.Should tree leaves or the like not be available, they have to choose a secluded place to say their prayer to avoid being looked at. If this was not feasible, they should say their prayer seated and nodding for both ruku’ and sujood, doing their best not to expose (more of their body).

If the mukallafs happened to be in a place where no onlookers are present, they should perform their prayer in the usual manner. However, they may, out of choice, repeat the prayer from a sitting position, following the same procedure just mentioned.

15.Should any part of the worshippers body, which should be covered in prayer,  be exposed and they came to know about it while prayer was still in progress, yet they did not take remedial action to cover it, their prayer shall be deemed null and void. However, where the worshipper is not aware of the exposure, until they completed their prayer, it should be valid; and they do not have to repeat it. The same applies to him who is ignorant of  the fact that covering one’s body and private parts is obligatory in prayer. That is, even if any of his body parts get uncovered without him paying attention to that.

16.Should the worshippers realize, while the prayer is still in progress, that a part of their body got uncovered, their prayer still counts, in that they do not have to repeat it. The same applies to the worshippers who, through ignorance of the rules, say prayer without due care to covering himself.

Conditions Concerning Clothing

Worshippers embarking on prayer may be wearing one garment, or a number of items, to cover their body. However, no matter what type of clothes you should be wearing, they must fulfill a number of conditions:

a.Taharah, the details of which have already been discussed in the Chapter concerning Najasah, paras.(48 and 71).

17.b.Any clothing should not be made of the skin or hair of an animal whose meat is not lawful to eat, such as that of any beast; that is, even if such animals were killed according to the Islamic code of slaughtering. Prayer said by the worshipper wearing such clothes is not valid. Nevertheless, any part of such animal coming into contact with the clothes or body of the worshipper will not render the prayer batil. For example, should the worshipper pray with a cat’s hair on their clothes, their prayer is valid.

18.However, this ban does not cover all parts of some other living beings, which have no body mass, although eating them is not permissible. Things like mosquitoes, flees, ants, honey and wax [produced by bees], and what is produced by silkworms;  pearl shells are also outside the remit of this ban.

19.Things that are linked to the human body, such as hair, milk etc, are also not covered by such a ban, in that prayer is deemed in order even with the presence of any part of these on the body or clothes of the worshipper.

20.The exemption of certain categories of animals among those whose meat is not allowed for eating concerns those whose blood does not spurt out when a blood their vessels are severed, be they land or marine animals. Wearing clothes or other clothing items made with  ]leather or fur[ of such animals in prayer is allowed.

21.Doubt may arise as to the origin of an )x( item of clothing, i.e. whether it be traced to an animal whose meat is unlawful or to that whose meat is lawful. Such a doubt has no bearing on the validity or otherwise of prayer performed with that item being worn.

22.c.Insofar as men are concerned, they are not allowed to wear any garment made of natural silk, i.e. that which is produced by silkworm;  however, synthetic silk and all other delicate soft fabrics are allowed.

23.Prayer would not be good enough, if it was performed by a person wearing pure natural silk;  should the garment worn during prayer be made of blended material, it should be in order, barring that the quantity of the non-silk material was so minute that you can hardly trace it.

24.Is it permissible to wear a garment whose lining is made of pure silk?  And is wearing such a garment in prayer sanctioned, if silk was used in its embroidery or its other accessories?

A. No, for the lining. The rest can be tolerated.

25.Doubt may arise as to the material an (x) garment is made of, i.e. whether it is made of silk or cotton, pure silk or synthetic, pure silk or a blend, etc. Such doubt can be ruled out, in that it is permissible to wear it in prayer.

26.The ban on [men] wearing silk is not confined to prayer. It is banned throughout as will be discussed.

27.Women, however, are allowed to wear silk clothes, be it in prayer or outside it.

28.d. Men are not allowed to wear anything made of gold, be it gold ring, watch strap, or pocket watch chain. Prayer is not deemed good enough, if it was said with the man wearing a ring. As for the watch chain, the worshipper is urged, as a matter of ihtiyat and wajib, not to wear it during prayer.

29.However, men are allowed to carry gold watches in their pockets, use gold crowns on their teeth, gold buttons, and military gold emblems and medals. This does not amount to wearing gold. The criterion for wearing gold is that when the gold item is worn, it should form a ring around any part or limb of the man’s body. This is true of the ring, the bracelet or strap;  but it is not true of the carried watch or the button.

30.Just as it is not permissible to wear a pure gold ring, so is it not permissible to wear it, if it contained metals other than gold;  that said, the percentage of any blend of metal should be minimal, in that such a ring would still be recognized as gold according to established practice )urf(.Should the percentage of other metals be such that it can no longer be called gold, it is permissible to wear it during prayer. If the ring was made of gold, but was plated with silver or any other metal, wearing it during prayer is not permissible.

31.Prayer is permissible with the worshipper wearing a platinum ring. So is it permissible to wear during prayer a ring made of gold that is blended with a white metal such as platinum or silver;  yet, the ring in question can no longer be called gold because it has lost its golden color, in that it has become conspicuously  white, so much so that it could be said it is not gold. But, if it still can be called gold, the change of color to a non-golden one would not affect the ruling ]of prohibition].

32.All gold items of jewelry that are forbidden during prayer are equally not permissible to wear outside prayer because wearing them is absolutely unlawful for men.

33.Women are free to wear gold jewelry, be it during prayer or otherwise.

34.It is not permissible for any mukallafs to usurp an item of clothing to wear during prayer. Should they wear it, they would be guilty, regardless of whether they said their prayer wearing it or not. If they went ahead and performed prayer in that usurped garment, such a prayer is deemed null and void;  that is, if they were aware of the fact that their action, [i.e. usurpation]is unlawful, and that the garment was big enough to cover the private parts, as a matter of obligatory precaution;  if it is not the case, i.e. without it being big enough to cover the private parts, prayer would not be deemed batil.

Should we assume that the perpetrator was ignorant, their prayer should be valid, although ihtiyat must be followed where the ignorant person was both aware of the rule and negligent.

35.The worshippers may take to prayer wearing that which is not allowed, be it taken from an animal whose meat is not lawful to eat, silk garment, gold ring, yet they are not aware or are ignorant that they are not allowed to do so. In such a case, their prayer is valid;  they are not required to repeat it after they have completed it, should they come to know about the rule. Should they become aware of the rule during prayer, their prayer can still be judged valid, if they hastened to take off the forbidden item they were wearing.

36.In the event of the non-availability of an item of clothes, apart from one that is najis, prayer in such a garment would be deemed valid, provided that the worshipper was not in a position to render the garment tahir.

37.During prayer the worshippers may [become aware] that the garment they are wearing is made of material taken from an animal whose meat is not permissible to eat. They have to take it off, and, where possible, cover themselves with anything available, such as tree leaves.

38.In case one garment, made of pure silk, was available,  the worshippers should not contemplate wearing it. The alternative is that they should say their prayer naked, sparing no effort to cover their private parts by way of tree leaves or such like. Should the worshipper not be in a position to take off that garment for any good reason, such as illness, they are allowed to say their prayer in the said garment, provided that it was not feasible, during prayer time, to take it off.

39.The worshipper may have the choice to wear one of two garments, one is unlawful to wear at all time, including in prayer, such as that made of pure silk;  the other is permissible to wear at all time. However, it was not feasible to distinguish the lawful from the unlawful. Should there be no third garment, the worshipper should say their prayer without either, endeavoring in the process to cover their private parts with tree leaves or the like.

40.Suppose both garments were lawful to wear outside prayer. However, one of them you cannot wear in prayer, such as that made of fur of the beast, and the other you can, such as that made of cotton. Should you be in a position whereby you cannot tell which is which, you have to say prayer twice, once in each of the two garments.

41.It is permissible for the worshippers who are unable to acquire the garment that is lawful to say prayer with, to hasten to say their prayer on its prime time, either naked or using any emergency covering as has already been discussed. That is, even if there was a possibility that the situation might not prevail until the end of prayer time.

However, the  said worshippers might have said prayer during the early part of prayer time without the garment that is sanctioned by Shari’a After a short while, while there was still time for prayer, they came by a garment which can be worn during prayer. In such a case, the worshipper is not required to repeat their prayer, except in the case where the worshippers state is that they cannot say their prayer only by way of nodding to suggest that what they are doing is sojood.

3.The Place of Prayer

42.The worshippers must choose a place where they can perform their prayer with all its requirements while in a stable position. That is, praying in a place which is in constant motion, e.g. on a plane, car, boat, train, or mounted should be avoided, especially if it entails instability of the worshipper in prayers to the extent that it becomes difficult to maintain one’s position in relation to the direction of qiblah. But supposing that they could, there is no objection to praying in such places.

43.The worshippers may board a train or a plane before  prayer time. However, when the time sets in, they could not perform prayer fully in a stable condition; in this case, they either postpone the prayer until they disembark, time permitting, or, if this was not feasible, perform it, doing their best to keep steady and keep staying put in the direction of qiblah, at least when uttering takbiratul ihram.

44.Suppose a traveling person knew that they would reach their destination just before, say, sunrise, leaving just enough time for performing one ruku’ of subh prayer within the time allowed. Is it preferable to say one’s prayer on board the means of transport or to wait until one gets off?

A. If the prayer that particular means of transport lacked both steadiness and facing the qiblah or just the latter, it is obligatory to wait ]until one arrives to one’s destination[.If it lacked steadiness, it becomes obligatory to say one’s prayer on board the means of transport they happen to be using.

45.It may be possible for a person traveling in a car to stop en-route to say their prayer. Yet, they are not allowed to perform their prayer, if they were not sure of maintaining a position in the direction of the qiblah, nor were they sure of achieving stability while in a standing position in that prayer.

The time for a given prayer may enter while the traveler’s plane or train is not yet due. Furthermore, the journey may take all the time of prayer and more. In such a case, the mukallaf must hasten to say prayer before embarking on their journey. That is, if it is not possible to say it on board.

46.All what we have been discussing thus far applies to the obligatory daily prayers. Any supererogatory prayer can be performed aboard the means of transport the traveler happens to be using. That is, the traveller is not required to observe facing the qiblah, nor are they required to maintain a steady posture while praying.

47.Praying in the immediate vicinity of the tomb of the infallible, can one occupy a place which could be seen that they are turning their back to the grave?

A. Apparently, it is permissible,  unless it constitutes an act of sacrilege as espoused by the generality of men and women , which varies from place to place and community to community.

48.A worshipper might perform his prayer in a place with the permission of the owner. Such a prayer is no doubt valid. However, in certain circumstances it might be deemed invalid. This is going to be discussed later on under the Rules of Sujood.

49.There is no harm in a man praying in a place with a woman praying nearby. It does not matter whether the woman was related to him or not, neither does it matter whether she was close to him or at some distance, to his right or left, in front or behind him.

50.It is permissible for a person to say their prayer inside the Holy Ka’ba.

4.The Niyyah

The three elements which constitute the niyyah:

51.Niyyah is a prerequisite for each and every prayer. That is, it has to fulfill the following:

a. There has to be niyyah of qurbah because prayer is an act of worship and thus it would not be good enough without such a niyyah, as has already been discussed in the Chapter dealing with Acts of Worship.

b. Genuine intention. That is, it should not be tinged with any hypocrisy as it is unlawful and thus nullifies prayer. This too has already been discussed in the Chapter on Acts of Worship.

c. Naming the particular prayer one intends to perform, such as subh, dhuhr, asr, maghrib, isha’ and their twin supererogatory prayers, Juma’,ayat, late night, eid, istisqa’ prayers, etc. If the worshippers want to pray a two-rak’a voluntary prayer, they must observe the niyyah of qurbah in a general sense.

The number of ruka’s of any prayer is immaterial, be it similar to another one, like dhuhr, asr, and isha’ or a unique one, like Maghrib,  i.e. being a three-rak’a prayer. That is, you have to call the prayer you are embarking on by its own name.

Thus, the intention to perform any particular prayer becomes an obligation in its own right, regardless of whether or not there be room for getting it wrong. However, we maintain that the intention had to be linked to the name of the prayer in hand, i.e. there might arise confusion (ishtibah) without it.

Accordingly, this condition has been considered as one of the prerequisites of niyyah -which should not be the case. That is, intending to perform prayer while in one’s all senses, cannot be separated from naming the particular prayer in hand.

52.The first two conditions have to be observed in all parts of prayer, right from takbiratul ihram to the end. However, this does not mean that niyyah should be made ahead of prayer, nay it should not be delayed beyond the first of its parts, i.e.takbiratul ihram.

Furthermore, in saying that "niyyah has to be present throughout prayer" should not mean that the worshippers must be fully aware of the niyyah at all time as though they were in the moment of its inception.That is, if the worshippers made niyyah, followed it by takbiratul ihram, and carried on with their prayer, then forgot about the niyyah, their prayer would be valid so long as the niyyah is still deep-seated in their mind so much so that if they were asked what they were doing, they would readily reply:  We are praying to seek nearness to Allah.

53.As for the intention to say the particular prayer, as called for by the Shari’a, it must be present throughout. That is, if, while the prayer is still in progress, the worshipper had in mind some other prayer and finished it as such, their originally intended prayer would be invalid, except in two cases:

54.a.The apparent switch )from one niyyah to another( must have been triggered by forgetfulness or absent-mindedness. For example, if you embarked on subh prayer, thinking while prayer was still in progress that you were praying a supererogatory one, and completing it as such, a prayer thus performed is valid and will count as subh. The opposite is true as well.In short, what counts at the end of the day is the original motivation or intention, and that transient absent-mindedness does not have any bearing on the end result.

55.b.The switching of niyyah from one prayer to the other is confined to the cases where it is permissible.

For example, suppose you were praying asr  only to remember that you did not say dhuhr. In such a case, you can switch niyyah from asr to dhuhr and complete your prayer as dhuhr.

Another example could be that of a person praying isha’, who, before the last ruka’, remembered that they did not perform maghrib prayer;  the switch to maghrib here is also justified.

A third example could be of a person who, while in prayer, remembered that they should be performing another qadha’ prayer whose time has preceded the one in hand and that both tally in the number of ruka’s. They are permitted to make the switch.

56.The worshipper may switch niyyah to another prayer where such a switch is not permissible, such as from dhuhr to asr. Yet, having done that, they reverted to the niyyah of dhuhr. Is it permissible for them to do that?

A.It depends on what stage of prayer they were in. However, if they have just started, there is no problem in that. If they have executed any major part of prayer, which cannot be rectified, such as ruku’, the prayer is deemed invalid, in that it should not count, even if it was completed. If the part which has been executed is of the type which can be retaken, such as tashahhud, it could be repeated with the newly adopted niyyah. That is, if the switch was from asr to dhuhr, the prayer is valid as dhuhr, provided that tashahhud is repeated to suit the new niyyah.

More details of what can or cannot be repeated will be discussed later on.

57.Once the worshippers resolved which prayer they were going to say, it is not necessary that they state the name of the day it was intended for. So, if it was dhuhr, they do not need to allocate it for today or a previous day they.

58.The worshippers may inadvertently make niyyah for an obligatory daily prayer for a day that has passed, only to realize after they had finished that it was for the current day not the one that had already passed. Such a prayer is valid, in that they do not have to repeat it. This applies too, if the situation was the reverse.

Questions on the Three Prerequisites

59.a.Some prayers are obligatory whereas others are voluntary. Should the worshipper always be alert, i.e.insofar as niyyah is concerned, as to the nature of particular prayer they are performing?

A.It is not a must so long as the worshipper is obedient to Allah’s injunctions.

60.b.hypocrisy off could impinge on the major parts of one’s prayer, thus rendering it invalid. It could be confined to the general format of prayer and the voluntary acts that may go into it. Does such hypocrisy detract from the validity of prayer?

A.Voluntary acts connected to prayer may vary and be distinguished from its integral obligatory parts. Qunoot is one of these voluntary acts; in other instances, it could be a general state that characterizes the way prayer is performed, such as performing it in the mosque or on its prime time.

As for the first case [i.e.qunoot], showing off should not invalidate prayer; nevertheless, the worshipper will be deemed guilty for resorting to hypocrisy. There are two interpretations for the second case:

1.The mukallafs could be intent on deception at the outset, i.e. whether or not they prayed. For example, they may aim, from being in the mosque, to give the impression to others that they are among those who frequent the mosque;  if it so happened that they said prayer for the sake of Allah, such prayer would be in order.

2.The mukallaf could be intent on pulling the wool over the eyes of the others  For example, the intent of the mukallaf for being in the mosque could merely be to show that they are  keen on choosing what is best for the sake of saying their prayer. A prayer thus performed is invalid.

61.c.Worshippers may embark on prayer. At some stage in their prayer, they decide to cut it short, or do that which invalidates it. What is the ruling in such a case?

A. Should they choose to revert to their original niyyah before executing any part of it or doing that which contravenes and renders it invalid, their prayer is valid, if they complete it as it ought to be performed.

Should they finish the prayer while still in a state of a limbo insofar as the niyyah of either breaking the prayer or doing that which invalidates it, or remained undecided between breaking and finishing it, their prayer is deemed invalid, even if they did not do anything that may detract from it in any way.

If the mukallafs executed any part thereof after they had decided on the niyyah of cutting the prayer short, only to revert to their original niyyah, there may be a number of issues to consider:

In the event of having executed ruku’ or sujood, the prayer should be deemed invalid. If it was other parts or acts of prayer, such as tashahhud, the recitation of suratul-Fatiha or dhikr, the prayer is deemed invalid, had they made the niyyah that tashahhud was part of the prayer they intended to break.Had this not been their intention, in that they recited tashahhud as a unit independent of prayer, they may, if they had changed their minds regarding the niyyah of breaking the prayer,  repeat same at the time of change and carry on with their prayer. They do not need to do anything else.

The Case for Doubt

62.The worshippers may embark on their prayer with a lingering doubt that they might not be in a position to finish it. For example, you could be saying your prayer in a place renowned for its overcrowding, such as al Masjidil Unlawful  during the pilgrimage season.

Right from the start, you were hoping that you would be able to finish your prayer without being forced to duck and weave. Should this materialize, i.e. saying your entire prayer while still maintaining a steady position, your prayer shall be in order and therefore accepted.

63.Crecps say their prayer in public but doubt crept into their mind as to whether or not they had intended the prayer . Those - who for, the sake of being seen by others, such prayer does not count.

64.Those who say their prayer in public, knowing fully well that they are  doing so for the sake of Allah, however, they start having second thoughts that they might be showing off. That is, they made people party to Allah in their motives. This should not detract from the validity of prayer.

65.Someone embarked on an obligatory daily prayer. At some stage in the prayer, they could not determine whether it was dhuhr or asr prayer they were performing. What should they do?

A. If they have not said dhuhr before that, they should assume that the prayer in hand is that of dhuhr and finish it as such. They could then say asr. If they have already said asr, the prayer in hand is invalid. They have to start afresh with the niyyah of asr. The same goes for the other prayers, maghrib and isha’, unless they have already done the fourth ruka’.

66.Suppose someone prepared for dhuhr prayer on a given day. Once they embarked on it, having completed quite a portion of it, they started having second thoughts as to whether it was really the same prayer they set out to perform or it could be that they have made niyyah for a missed prayer which they did not intend to say. Such a prayer is invalid. Accordingly, the person must start afresh with a definite niyyah for a definite prayer.

67.A person may embark on a particular prayer for the day, only to find themselves not able to decide whether the prayer in hand was really for that day or for a previous day. They may even have doubts as to the nature of prayer, i.e. whether it was an obligatory daily prayer or a supererogatory one. Such a prayer is not good enough. Thus, the worshipper must start anew determining a proper niyyah.