Before one attends a meeting or any gathering of importance, one would prepare them self. If they had to give a speech, they would rehearse it several times. If they were meeting a person of importance, they would ensure their clothes were well-ironed, and that they were dressed to perfection. Hence, before one stands to face Almighty Allah, one must prepare themselves for the conversation that will ensue, and for Allah is the greatest of examples.
In this article we will continue on our topic of khushu’, we will address the conditions of Salah, which are necessary to be fulfilled before a person begins praying in order to help them get the most of our their prayer. Let us dive right in,
- Time: If one wishes to pray an obligatory prayer he should do his utmost to pray it at the correct time.
Allah says, “Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.” (An-Nisaa 4:103) It is reported that Umar ibn Al-Khattab said, “prayer has specified times stipulated by Allah, without observing which prayer is invalid.” Thus, it is essential to pray on time, for it brings many virtues, among them coming closer to Allah and attaining His pleasure.
The time for fajr starts with the true dawn until sunrise.
Dhuhr begins when the sun passes its meridian and declines westward. As the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him said, “The time of dhuhr prayer is when the sun passes the meridian and a man’s shadow is the same (length) as his height).” (Muslim)
Asr is when the time of dhuhr ends; which is when the shadow of an object is the same length as the object itself until the sun sets.
Maghrib begins when the sun sets, and one sees the appearance of darkness. It lasts until the redness disappears on the horizon.
Isha begins when maghrib ends; when the red twilight disappears.
It is best to perform the prayers at their earliest times, except for dhuhr when it is hot, then it is recommended to delay it until it is cooler. It is also recommended to delay ishaa.
As for the voluntary prayers, some of them have set times such as Duha prayer and others do not, such as Istikhara.
One is only excused from the proper time if one has a legal excuse that prevents him.
- Covering the Awrah: It is essential that before one prays that he covers His awrah to the best of his ability.
Allah says, (the translation of which is),
“O Children of Adam! wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer,” ( Al-A’raaf, 7:31)
In this regard Ibn Abdil Barr said, “Scholars unanimously agree on the invalidity of the prayer of one who refrains from clothing and performs it naked though able to clothe oneself and conceal one’s awrah.”
To cover does not mean to wrap, rather one should cover themselves in a manner that does not describe their awrah, be it with tight or see-through clothing. They should opt for loose, opaque clothing as much as possible.
It was narrated from ‘Aishah that, the Prophet said, “Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who menstruates (i.e., an adult woman) except with a head cover.” (Ibn Majah, Sahih)
For a woman, she should veil herself completely, including her feet, for her whole body is her awrah. However, her face should not be covered, unless she is praying in area where men can see her, and her hands should not be gloved.
- Removing Impurities: this includes removing impurities from one’s body, clothing and the place of prayer.
One should cleanse themselves from physical as well as ritual impurities. A person should ensure that they are purified from both major (such as janabah, haid, and nifaas) and minor impurities. If necessary one should perform istinjaa/istijmar before making ghusl/wudhu.
If one notices something impure whilst praying, provided he was not aware of it previously, his prayer is valid. If possible, one should remove it, if that would not involve much movement or distraction whilst praying.
- Qibla: one should face the qibla, the direction of the ka’bah.
“So turn your face toward al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you [believers] are, turn your faces toward it [in prayer].” (Al Baqarah, 2:144)
One should face the qibla as much as he is able to, to the best of his ability. However, if one is ill, or is engaged in war or other necessities arise that prevent one from facing the qibla, one’s prayer will still be valid.
- To have the intention: to have the intention of prayer in the heart, without uttering it on the lips. To pronounce the intention, is an innovated practice not done by the Prophet nor his companions nor the righteous predecessors. It only makes the prayer burdensome, as one has an extra thing to memorise, which takes more time! One must have the intention in their heart/mind, knowing that they are going to pray. This intention lasts till the end of the prayer.
These are the five conditions to be fulfilled before one prays. They are just a few of the many things that can aid one to attain Khushu whilst praying. By ensuring we are following the sunnah to the best of our ability in preparing for our prayer, it will help us to get closer to Allah and attain His pleasure. May Allah accept our efforts.