Right method to pray
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Dear Brother in islam, Q1- Some sects in islam pray diferently from others, i.e. some fold their hands, some do not. what is your opinion ? how do you pray ?
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Right method to pray
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
There are many aayah in the Holy Quran regarding prayers, their virtues and their timings. Regarding the virtues of salaah,
Allah says in the Holy Quran in Chapter 29 Surah Ankabut verse 45:and establish Regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains one from shameful and evil deeds. And the remebrance of Allah, without a doubt, is the greatest thing. And Allah knows the deeds that you do.
The command to establish Regular Salaah appear several times throughout the Quran, and its importance is also signified to the extent that Salaah is considered one of the pillars of Islam.
The correct way to offer the salaah is the way the Prophet (saws) offerred them. The Prophet (saws) himself learned the rites of salaah directly from Gibrael (a.s.) at the very beginning of his (saws) term of Prophethood in Makkah. During that time the Prophet (saws) and the believers used to pray the salaah in two rakah formations. The commandment of the five obligatory prayers were received one year prior to the Hijrah, during the night of Isra-wal-Mairaaj (Night of Accession of the Prophet (saws) to the Heavens).
The Quran itself is silent on the actual rituals or acts of prayer. But this is an act, which was conducted by the Prophet (saws) five times a day until his (saws) death, and witnessed by tens of thousands of his companions (r.a.). Whatever the Prophet (saws) said, saw, did, approved and dissapproved, some noble companions (r.a.) wrote it down for future generations to follow.
There is actually no dispute between all the factions of Islam on the fundemental rites of salaah and almost all the sects pray in a similar manner. For instance, there are absolutely no disputes in the following matters in any sect of Islam:
To observe 5 obligatory prayers
The number of rakahs in each obligatory prayer.
To observe Taharat before the prayer. (wudoo, clean place, clean clothes, etc.)
To face towards the Kaabah.
To make intention before salah (Neeyah).
To make Takbeer before the start of prayer
To do qiyam(stand) during prayer.
To pray Surah Fateha and another Surah (in the first two rakahs only).
To make ruku (bow down) after every rakah.
To make two sajdah (prostrations) after every ruku.
To pray tashahood and taheeyat after every two rakahs.
To end the pray with the act of salaams.
There is absolutely no difference in the majority (maybe 99%) of the rites of salah in any school or sect of Islam. Yes, there are small differences in various sects and schools of Islam, like standing with ones hands folded or straight, etc., but these do not in any way negate the salah. If anyones intention is that either by folding his hands or keeping his hands straight in prayer, he is following the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws), there is absolutely no harm in either. But if one knows that an act he does in the salah is an innovation added by somebody to the rites observed by the Prophet (saws), then he should not do it.
Yes, what you ask is unfortunately true in Islam today, that it looks as if the Muslims are all praying differently, each according to their sects and schools of thought. One congregation refuses to pray behind the congregation of another imam and so forth. Each of them claims that they follow the exact tradition of the Prophet (saws). This is an Islamic fiqh (jurispudence) matter, and we leave the leaders and the personalities, who propagated the division of Islam into sects, to answer Allah on the Day of Judgement.
Just look at the Anger and Wrath of Allah described on those who break up their religion into sects:
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 23 Surah Muminoon verse 52-54:And you all belong to one and the same ummah, and I am your Lord; so fear Me Alone! Yet afterwards the people divided themselves into different sects, and each sect rejoices in what it has. Well, leave them deeply involved in their heedlessness up to an appointed time.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,