We know that the Salat (prayer) is an obligation upon us, and it is important for us to pray in the correct manner in accordance with how Prophet Muhammad (sallahu alahayi was salaam) did, as He (S) said, "Pray as you have seen me praying." (Bukhari)
Having Wudhu/Facing the Kabah in Makkah
Prophet Muhammad (S) said, "When you stand for prayer, perform (your) ablution perfectly, the face the qiblah (towards the Kabah) and say the takbeer (Allaahoo-Akbar)." (Bukhari and Muslim)
To Perform Wudhu:
* Having intention in your heart (Muslim)
* Saying Bismillah (Tirmidhi)
* Washing the hands up to the wrist, right side first, up to three times (Bukhari and Muslim)
* Rinsing your mouth and washing your nose in one motion up to three times (Bukhari and Muslim)
* Washing your face up to three times (Bukhari and Muslim)
* Washing your arms up to the elbow, right side first, up to three times (Bukhari and Muslim)
* Wiping your head with your hands to the back and front (Bukhari)
* Cleaning your ears inside and out with two fingers (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood)
* Cleaning the feet (including between toes), right side first, up the ankle up to three times (Bukhari and Muslim)
Having a Sutrah (Screen/Cover/Object) in front of you when praying
Muhammad (S) told us, "When one of you prays, he must pray towards a sutrah, and must get close to it, lest shaitaan would interrupt his prayer." (Ahmad, Abu Dawood, an-Nasaaee)
Raising your hands and saying the Takbeer (Allaahoo-Akbar - Allaah is The Greatest)
Prophet Muhammad (S) would raise hands sometimes at the same time of the takbeer (Bukhari), sometimes (right) after the takbeer (Bukhari), and sometimes (right) before it (Bukhari).
He (S) would raise his hands until they were level with his shoulders (Bukhari), and he (S) would also sometimes raise his hands until they were level with (the top of) his ears (Bukhari).
Placing the Right Arm over the Left Arm and Placing them on your chest
Prophet Muhammad (S) would place his right arm on the back of his left palm, wrist, and forearm. (Abu Dawood), and he (S) would place them on his chest (Abu Dawood).
Looking down at the place of Prostration with Humility while Praying
Muhammad (S) used to have his head inclined during the prayer and he would fix his (S) on the ground (where he (S) would prostrate). (Baihaqi)
Muhammad (S) told us to say Aameen when Surah Al-Fatiha is finished. (Bukhari)
Praying in Straight Lines while filling the gaps
Ibn Umar reported that Allahs Messenger (S) said, "Establish your lines [straight], for indeed the angels [pray] in lines. Align your shoulders, close the gaps, yield your hands to your brothers, and do not leave any gaps for Shaytaan. Whoever connects a line, Allah maintains him, and whoever breaks a line, Allah cuts him off." (Ahmad, Aboo Daawood, an-Nasaa`ee and others)
An-Numaan bin Basheer said, "...So I saw a man clinging his shoulder to his companions shoulder, and his foot to his foot, and his ankle to his ankle." (Bukhari)
Muhammad (S) would raise his hands (in the same manner as described before), then say the takbeer (Allaahoo-Akbar), and make rukoo. (Bukhari and Muslim)
Prophet Muhammad (S) would place his hands firmly on his knees (Bukhari and Abu Dawood), and would space his fingers out, he would also keep his elbows away from his sides (Trimidhi), and he (S) would spread his back and make it level (Bukhari).
He (S) would neither droop his head nor would he raise it (higher than his back). (Bukhari and Abu Dawood).
Coming Up from the Rukoo
Upon coming up from the rukoo, Muhammad (S) would raise his hands (in the same manner as described before).
The Sajood (Prostration)
Prophet Muhammad (S) has been described as placing seven limbs on the ground while he (S) was prostrating: the palms, the knees, the feet (toes), and the forehead with the nose included. (Bukhari and Muslim)
He (S) would keep his heels together and feet upright. He (S) would also keep his elbows above the ground and commanded people not to put their elbows on the ground like a dog (Bukhari). He (S) also kept his arms away from his sides (Bukhari)
Getting Up from the Sajood
When Muhammad (S) would get up from the sajood, he would clench his fists, supporting himself with his hands when getting up. Upon coming up for the third rakat of the Salat, He (S) would also raise his hands as described above (Bukhari).
The Tashahud (Recited after Sajood in second and fourth rakats, also third for Maghrib)
Muhammad (S) would spread his left palm on his left knee, clench all the fingers of his right hand (either putting his thumb on his middle finger - (Muslim) or making a circle with his thumb and middle finger - (Abu Dawood), and point his index finger up towards the qiblah (at the very beginning of the tashahud), and he would fix his sight on it. (Muslim)
Muhammad (S) would also move his finger during the tashahud (Abu Dawood) as a tool against shaitan (Ahmad).
The Tasleem (Salutation of Peace)
To complete the prayer Prophet Muhammad (S) would salute to his right (such that the whiteness of his cheek was visible), and on his left (so the whiteness of the cheek was visible).
This is not in any way a complete description of the prayer. It is hoped that some fundamental issues were clarified, and some common mistakes which are performed in the salat will be avoided.
One also needs to learn the proper things to recite during each phase of the prayer.
One should refer to Sheikh Albani's The Prophet's Prayer Described for more details.
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