THE FIVE OBLIGATORY DAILY PRAYERS (Namaz)
Every Muslim has to know by heart the thirty-three binding duties which are called fard (fard). They are:
* Conditions (fards) of iman : SEVEN
* Pillars of Islam : FIVE
* Conditions for namaz (prayer) : TWELVE
* Conditions for ablution (wudu, abdast): FOUR
* Principles for ghusl (ritual bath) : THREE
* Conditions for tayammum : THREE
There are also scholars who say that tayammum has two conditions. In that case, there will be thirty-two in all. The fifty-four fards (orders) are another matter and are written in my Turkish book Islam Ahlaki. Performing Amr-i maruf and Nahy-i munkar and not uttering any bad and ugly words are not included in the thirty-three fards, but they are in the fifty- four fards.
It is fard for every Muslim who is sane and has reached the age of puberty to perform the five daily prayers. When a prayer time comes, it becomes fard for him/her the moment he/she begins performing the prayer. If he/she has not performed it and if there is time left enough to make an ablution and begin the namaz before the prayer time is over, it becomes fard for him/her to perform it. If the prayer time is over before he/she has performed it without a good excuse not to do so, he/she will have committed a grave sin. Whether he/she has had a good excuse or not, qada will be necessary. The same applies to situations such as when a child reaches puberty, when a disbeliever or a renegade becomes a Muslim, when a woman becomes canonically clean, when an insane or unconscious person recovers, and when a sleeping person wakes up. It is fard for a new Muslim to learn the principles of namaz first. After learning them, it becomes fard to perform namaz. Sleep is not a good excuse if it begins after the prayer time has begun. If a person does so, it is fard for him to make sure that he will wake up before the prayer time is over, while it would be mustahab for him to make sure to wake up before the end of the prayer time if he were to go to sleep before the beginning of the prayer time. These five daily prayers add up to forty rakats (units), out of which seventeen are fard, three are wajib (essential, almost obligatory), and twenty are sunnat, as follows:
1. Morning prayer [Salat-ul-fajr] consists of four rakats. First, two rakats of the sunnat prayer are performed. Then two rakats of the fard prayer are performed. The sunnat (the first two rakats) is very important. Some scholars classify it as wajib.
2. Early afternoon prayer [Salat-uz-zuhr] consists of ten rakats, the initial sunnat consisting of four rakats, the fard consisting of four rakats, and the final sunnat consisting of two rakats. The early afternoon prayer is performed in this order.
3. Late afternoon prayer [Salat-ul-'asr] consists of eight rakats. First the sunnat, which consists of four rakats, and then the fard, which consists of four rakats, are performed.
4. Evening prayer [Salat-ul-maghrib] contains five rakats. First the fard, which is composed of three rakats, then the sunnat, consisting of two rakats, are performed.
5. Night prayer [Salat-ul-'isha] consists of thirteen rakats. The initial sunnat contains four rakats. The fard also contains four rakats. But the final sunnat has two rakats, while the Witr prayer has three rakats.
The initial sunnats of the late afternoon prayer and night prayer are Ghayr-i muakkada. When sitting during their second rakat, after reciting the attahiyyatu.., the prayers of Allahumma salli ala... and... barikala... are recited completely. After standing up for the third rakat, the prayer Subhanaka... is recited before saying the Basmala. But the first sunnat of the early afternoon prayer is Muakkad. That is, it has been commanded emphatically. There are more thawabs (blessings) for it. During its second rakat, as in the fard prayers, only the Attahiyyatu is said and then we stand up for the third rakat. After standing up, we first recite the Basmala and then the sura (chapter) of Fatiha.
It is mustahab to perform four more rakats after the fard of early afternoon and night prayers and six more rakats after the fard of early evening prayer. In other words, it is very blessed. One can perform all of them with one salam or by saying the salam after every two rakats. In either case the first two rakats are deemed to be the final sunnat. These prayers, which are mustahab, can be performed separately after the final sunnat of the two prayers of namaz as well.
The first rakat commences with the beginning of the prayer and the other rakats begin right after standing up, and each rakat continues until one stands up again. The final rakat continues until the salam. No prayers can be less than two rakats. All prayers contain an even number of rakats, except the fards of the early evening prayer and the witr prayer. After the second sajda (prostration) of each second rakat we sit.
Each rakat of prayer contains its fards, wajibs, sunnats, mufsids (things or acts which disrupt prayer), and makruhs (actions, words, thoughts avoided and disapproved by the Prophet).
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