Pillars of Salah

Pillars of Salah

by | Nov 18, 2020 | Articles | 0 comments

The Pillars Of Salah

This has been taken from the Prophet’s prayer described by Sheikh Muhammad Naasirud-deen al-Albaanee

In his Introduction (to the abridged version) he states:-

“…So the pillar (rukn) is that which is essential for completion of the affair that it falls within, being such that its absence necessitates that the action depending upon it is nullified. An example is the bowing (rukoo’) in the Prayer – it is a pillar of it, and if it is absent then the Prayer is nullified.

The condition (shart) is like the pillar (rukn) except that it is something outside the action that is dependant upon it. An example is the ablution (wudoo) for the Prayer. Prayer is not correct without it. The obligation (waajib) is that which has an established command in the Book or the Sunnah, but there is no proof that it is a pillar (rukn) or a condition (shart). One who carries it out is rewarded, and one who leaves it without valid excuse is punished. Just like it is the fard (obligation) and making a difference between the fard and the waajib is a newly invented use of terminology for which there is no proof.”

1) Facing the Kabah:-
If you stand, O Muslim, to pray – then face the direction of the Ka’bah, wherever you are, in obligatory Prayers and optional Prayers. This is one of the pillars of the Prayer, such that the Prayer is not valid without it.

It is obligatory upon everyone who can actually see the Ka’bah to face it directly. As for those who cannot actually see it then they should face its direction.

When the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) stood for prayer, he would face the Ka’bah in both obligatory and voluntary prayers, and he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) ordered that, saying to the “one who prayed badly”: When you stand for prayer, perform ablution prefectly, then face the qiblah and say takbeer. [Collected by Bukhaari, Muslim & Siraaj]

It is obligatory that he prays towards a barrier (sutrah). It makes no difference whether he is praying in a mosque or elsewhere, nor whether the mosque is large or small. This is because of the all- mbracing statement of the Prophet , “Do not pray except towards a sutrah, and do not let anyone walk in front o f you. So if a person insists (on trying to pass) then fight him, because he has an evil companion along with him,” meaning a devil.

He used to say: “Do not pray except towards a sutrah, and do not let anyone pass in front of you, but if someone continues (to try to pass) then fight him, for he has a companion (i.e. a shaytaan) with him.” [Ibn Khuzaimah in his Saheeh (1/93/1) with a sound isnaad]

3) STANDING (Qiyaam)
It is obligatory that the person prays standing. [except for certain circumstances]

“And stand before Allaah devoutly.” (Baqarah, 2:238)

4) THE INTENTION (an-Niyyah)
He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to say: All actions are by intention, and every man shall have what he intended [Bukhaari, Muslim and others. It is given in Irwaa’ (no. 22)]

The person who is going to pray must have in his heart the intention to pray that particular Prayer, be it the Obligatory Zuhr or ‘Asr Prayer, or the sunnah Prayer’s for them, for example. This is a condition (shart) or a pillar (rukn). As for expressing that upon the tongue, then it is an innovation (bid’ah), contrary to the sunnah.

This is a pillar (rukn), due to his saying, “The key to the Prayer is Purification. That which makes outside actions forbidden is the takbeer, and that which causes outside actions to become permissible is the tasleem.”

He ordered “the man who prayed badly” to do likewise as has been mentioned, and he said to him: Verily, the prayer of a person is not complete until he has made an ablution which has included the necessary parts of the body and has then said: ‘Allaahu Akbar’ [Tabaraani with a saheeh isnaad]
Then he recites the whole of Soorah al-Faatihah, and (Bismillaah …) is an aayah from it. This is a pillar (rukn), and the Prayer will not be correct without it. So it is obligatory upon even those who do not know Arabic that they memorize it.

He would vehemently emphasise the importance of this soorah, saying: “There is no prayer for the one who did not recite [in it] the opening chapter [at least]” [Bukhaari, Muslim, Abu `Awaanah & Baihaqi. It is given in Irwaa’ (302). ]

It is obligatory that the one praying behind an imaam also recites it in quiet Prayers. He should also recite it in loud Prayers if he cannot hear an imaam reciting, or if it happens that the imaam remains silent after his own recitation in order to enable the follower to recite it. However, it is our view that this period of silence is not established from the Sunnah. – I have mentioned the evidence used by those who support it, along with its rebuttal in Silsilatul-Ahaadeethid-Da’eefah, nos. 546 and 547

Then he performs the rukoo’ (i.e., bows) in such a manner that all his joints are settled, and each part of the body is at rest. This is a pillar (rukn).

He also says the takbeer (i.e., Allaahu Akbar), and this is obligatory.

He should place his hands firmly upon his knees. He should spread his fingers, as if he were grasping his knees. All of this is obligatory.

He also ordered “the one who prayed badly” likewise, saying to him, Indeed, the prayer of one of you is not complete until he makes an excellent ablution as Allaah has commanded him to … then he celebrates Allaah’s greatness, praises and glorifies Him, then recites the Qur’aan as much as is easy for him from what Allaah has taught him and allowed him, then says takbeer and makes rukoo’ [and places his hands on his knees] until his joints are at ease and relaxed [Abu Daawood & Nasaa’i. Haakim declared it saheeh & Dhahabi agreed]

Then he must raise up and straighten his back from the rukoo’. …he should stand straight up and remain still, such that every bone returns to its place. …This is a pillar.

He also ordered “the one who prayed badly” to do that, when he said to him: No person’s prayer is complete until … he has said takbeer … then made rukoo’ … then has said “Allaah listens to the one who praises Him” until he is standing straight.” [Abu Daawood & Haakim , who declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed]

and he ordered “the one who prayed badly” to do so, saying to him, No one’s prayer is complete unless … he says: Allaah listens to the one who praises Him and stands up straight, then says: Allaah is the Greatest and prostrates such that his joints are at rest [Abu Daawood & Haakim, who declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed.]

So when he prostrates, and it is a pillar, he should rest upon his palms, and extend together….He must place his nose and his forehead firmly upon the ground, this is a pillar…. So whoever settles in his prostration in this manner, then he has certainly attained the stillness necessary. This stillness (itmi’naan) in the prostration is a pillar also.

When a slave prostrates, seven limbs prostrate with him: his face, his palms, his knees and his feet. [Muslim, Abu `Awaanah & Ibn Hibbaan]

He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to command the completion of rukoo’ and sujood, comparing someone not doing so to the hungry man who eats one or two dates, which are of no use to him, and also saying about him, he is indeed one of the worst thieves among the people.

He also ruled that the prayer of one who does not straighten his spine fully in rukoo’ and sujood is invalid, as has been mentioned under “Rukoo'”, and ordered “the one who prayed badly” to be at ease in his sujood, as mentioned before.

So when he prostrates, and it is a pillar, he should rest upon his palms, and extend together….. He should keep his fingers them… And point them towards the qiblah (direction of Prayer)…. And he should place his palms level with his shoulders…. And sometimes he places them level with his ears…. And he must lift his elbows away from the ground. This is obligatory. He is not allowed to spread them on the ground in the manner of the dog…. He must place his nose and his forehead firmly upon the…ground, this is a pillar….

He must also place his knees firmly on the ground…. And likewise his toes…. His feet should be placed upright on the ground. All of these are obligatory….. The tips of his toes should be pointed towards the qiblah (direction of Prayer)…. And his heels should be joined together.

It is obligatory that he is settled in his prostration. This comes about by his resting equally on each of the parts of the body that touch the ground when prostrating. These are: the forehead and the nose – together, the two palms, the two knees and the toes of each foot.


Then he sits with calmness, such that every bone settles in its place. This is a pillar.

Next, “he would lay his left foot along the ground and sit on it [relaxed]” [Ahmad & Abu Daawood with a good isnaad] , and he ordered “the one who prayed badly” thus, saying to him, When you prostrate, prostrate firmly, then when you rise, sit on your left thigh.[Bukhaari & Baihaqi]

“He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would be relaxed until every bone returned to its (proper) position”[Abu Daawood & Baihaqi with a saheeh isnaad], and he ordered “the one who prayed badly” likewise, and said to him, The prayer of any of you is not complete until he does this.[Abu Daawood & Haakim , who declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed.]


And he performs the second prostration, and this is a pillar also.

Next, “he would say takbeer and prostrate for the second time.”[Bukhaari & Muslim] He also ordered “the one who prayed badly” to do so, saying to him after he had ordered him to be at ease between sajdahs, then say ‘Allaah is the Greatest’ and prostrate until your joints are relaxed [and do that in all your prayer].[Abu Daawood & Haakim , who declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed; the addition is from Bukhaari & Muslim.]


Then he gets up, supporting himself upon the ground with his fists clenched, like one who clenches his fists when kneading dough. So he stands up for the second rak’ah, and this is a pillar.

“When he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) got up for the second rak’ah, he would commence with All Praise be to Allaah (Faatihah 1:1), without pausing.” [Muslim & Abu `Awaanah.]


So when he finishes the second rak’ah he sits to perform the tashahhud. This is obligatory.

“He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would recite the Tahiyyah after every two rak’ahs” [Muslim & Abu `Awaanah]; “the first thing he would say in this sitting would be: All compliments be to Allaah.”[Bukhaari & Muslim. It is given in Irwaa’ al-Ghaleel (338).]

“When he forgot to perform the tashahhud after the first two rak’ahs, he would prostrate (twice) for forgetfulness.”[Baihaqi transmitted it as a narration from `Aa’ishah with a good isnaad, as verified by Ibn al-Mulaqqin (28/2).]

The tashahhud is obligatory. If he forgets it, then he should perform two extra prostrations for forgetfulness (Sajdatus-Sahw) at the end of the Prayer.


It is obligatory that he supplicates for blessings upon the Prophet ! in this tashahhud,

Once, “he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) heard a man supplicating in his prayer without glorifying the majesty of Allaah Exalted, nor sending prayers on the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), so he said: This man has been hasty.” He then called him and said to him and others, “When one of you prays, he should begin with the praise of his Lord, Sublime and Mighty, and his exultation, and then send prayers (in one narration: he should send prayers) on the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), and then supplicate as he wishes.” [Ahmad, Abu Daawood, Ibn Khuzaimah (1/83/2) & al-Haakim , who declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed]

He must seek Allaah’s refuge from four things, saying: O Allaah! I seek refuge with You from the punishment of Hell-Fire, and from the Punishment of the Grave, and from the Trials of Living and Dying, and from the Evil Trials of the False Messiah (Dajjaal). [Muslim, Abu `Awaanah, Nasaa’i & Ibn al-Jaarood in al-Muntaqaa (27). It is given in Irwaa’ (350).]


Then he gets up to pray the third rak’ah, and it, like the rak’ah coming after it, is a pillar.

Next, he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would get up for the third rak’ah with takbeer [Bukhaari & Muslim], and he ordered “the one who prayed badly” to do so: Then do that in every rak’ah, as before.

“When he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) stood from the sitting position, he would say takbeer, and then stand up”[Abu Ya`laa in his Musnad (284/2) with a good isnaad. It is given in Silsilah al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah (604).]; and “he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would raise his hands” [Bukhaari & Abu Daawood] with this takbeer sometimes.

“When he wanted to stand up for the fourth rak’ah, he would say: Allaah is the Greatest”[Bukhaari & Abu Daawood], and he ordered “the one who prayed badly” likewise, as before, and “he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) would raise his hands”[Abu `Awaanah & Nasaa’i with a saheeh sanad] with this takbeer sometimes.

“He would sit up straight on his left foot, at ease, until every bone returned to its proper place, then stand up, supporting himself on the ground; and he would clench his fists[literally, “as one who kneads dough.”] supporting himself with his hands when standing up.”[Harbi in Ghareeb al-Hadeeth; its meaning is found in Bukhaari and Abu Daawood. As for the hadeeth, he forbade that a man should support himself with his hand when getting up during prayer”, it is munkar and not authentic, as I have explained in Silsilah al-Ahaadeeth ad-Da`eefah (967).]

Then he should give salutations to his right side, and this is a pillar, turning his face such that the whiteness of his right cheek can be seen.

He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to say, … it (the prayer) is exited by the tasleem [Haakim & Dhahabi declared it saheeh; it has already been given in full under the opening “Takbeer]

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