Those who steal from their own namâz
What a great blessing it is when the heart is with Allahu ta’âlâ and the body, together with all the limbs, is embellished with doing the rules of the Sharî’at [Islam]. Recently, most people have been slack in performing namâz. They have been slighting the tumânînat and the ta’dîl-i arkân. For this reason, I have to warn you, my beloved ones, about this matter. Listen well! Our Prophet “sall-Allahu alaihi wa sallam” declared: “The worst thief is the person who steals from his own namâz.” When he was asked, “O Rasûlallah! How can a person steal from his own namâz?” he said, “By not doing the rukû and sajda of the namâz properly.”
At some other time he declared: “Allahu ta’âlâ does not accept the namâz of a person who does not bring his waist into its proper position and remain so for a while in rukû and sajda.” Once, upon seeing a person not doing the rukû and the sajda properly while performing namâz, our Prophet said, “Are you not afraid you may die in some other religion than Hadrat Muhammad’s dîn because you perform your prayers of namâz in this manner?” Once again, he said, “When performing namâz, if you do not straighten up your body completely after the rukû’, if your each limb does not rest at its position for a while when you are standing, your namâz will not be complete.” Once again, he said, “Unless you sit upright between the two sajdas your namâz will remain incomplete.”
One day, upon seeing someone not observing the rules and rukns [five of the fards of the namâz are inside the namâz. Each of these five fards is also called “a rukn”] of namâz, not standing upright after the ruku’ and not sitting between the sajdas, our Prophet said, “If you go on performing your namâzes in this manner, on the Day of Resurrection you will not be said to be of my Ummat.” At some other time he said, “If you go on in this manner and die, you shall not have died in the religion of Muhammad (alaihissalâm).”
Abû Hurayra (radiy-Allahu ’anh) says, “The person who has performed all namâzes for sixty years but whose namâz has never been accepted is the person who has not done the ruku’ and sajda properly.”
It is said in the book Awsât by Tabarânî that if a Believer performs his namâz beautifully and does its ruku’ and sajda properly, the namâz will become happy and will be full of nûr. Angels will take the namâz up to heavens. The namâz will pronounce a benediction on the person who has performed it and will say, “As you have protected me against being defective, may Allahu ta’âlâ protect you.” If the namâz is not performed well, it will become black. Angels will snub that namâz and will not take it up to the heavens. The namâz will curse the person who has performed it and will say, “As you have wasted me and put me into a bad position, may Allahu ta’âlâ waste you.” Then, we should try to perform our namâzes properly, observe the ta’dîl-i arkân, do the ruku’, the sajda, the qawma and the jalsa well. Also, we should warn others if we see them do these defectively. We should help our brothers-in-Islam perform namâz properly. We should be an example in observing the ta’dîl-i arkân and the tumânînat. Most Muslims have been depriving themselves of the honour of doing this. This blessing has already been lost. It is very important to revivify this good deed. Our Prophet declared: “He who resuscitates any one of my forgotten sunnats will be given the thawâb of a hundred martyrs.” (Maktûbât, Second Volume, 69th Letter)
The fards that are inside the namâz (rukns)
1- Tahrîma (takbîr of iftitâh): It means to say Allahu akbar when beginning namâz, and it is fard. No other word to replace it is acceptable. This takbîr of iftitâh is one of the conditions of namâz. It is not a rukn. If the takbîr is said too long, like “AAAllahu” in the beginning or “akbaar” at the end, namâz will not be accepted. If you utter the word “akbar” before the imâm does (when performing namâz in jamâ’at), your namâz will not have started.
2- Qiyâm:Qiyâm is the first of the five rukns of namâz. It means standing. When standing, the two feet must be four times a finger’s width apart from each other. Those who are too ill to stand, or who will feel dizzy or have a headache or toothache or pain at some other part of their body or cannot control their urination or wind breaking or bleeding when they stand, or who fear that their enemy may see (and harm) them or their possessions may be stolen when they stand, or whose fast will break or speech will be slurred or awrat parts will open when they stand, perform namâz sitting. Also, if you are ill and infer from your own experiences or are told by a specialized Muslim doctor that standing will make your illness worse or delay your healing, you perform namâz sitting. But the doctor who tells you should not be a fâsiq person committing sins or harâms frankly. Such people may sit on the floor in a manner that comes easy to them; cross legged, or knees drawn up with arms folded round the legs or in any other manner. People incapable of sitting in that manner on their own does so with someone else’s help. For the ruku’ they bend forward a little. For the sajda they put their head on the ground.
3- Qirâat:Qirâat is to read (recite) orally. Reading (or reciting) only as loud as one can hear is called khafî. It is called jahrî, that is, loud if it is audible by one’s company. It is fard to say an âyat [a verse of the Qur’ân al-karîm] of the Qur’ân while standing at every rak’at of sunnats and of the witr and at two rak’ats of the fard when performing namâz individually. It brings more thawâb to say a short sûra [a chapter of the Qur’ân al-karîm]. As qirâat, it is wâjib to say the sûra of Fâtiha at these parts of namâzes and to say also a sûra or three âyats at every rak’ât of sunnats and of witr prayer and at two rak’ats of the fard. In the fard [namâzes that are obligatory], it is wâjib or sunnat to say the Fâtiha and the (other) sûra at the first two rak’ats. Additionally, it is wâjib to say the Fâtiha before the sûra. Furthermore, it is wâjib to say the Fâtiha once at every rak’at. If one of these five wâjibs is forgotten, it is necessary to make sajda-i sahw. According to some more dependable information, at the third and fourth rak’ats of the fard, it is sunnat for the imâm as well as for a person who performs namâz individually to say the Fâtiha. It will be all right whether one says the additional sûra, too, or says nothing. When making the qirâat, it is not permissible to recite translations of the Qur’ân. In the other three Madhhabs, it is fard to say the Fâtiha in every namâz and in every rak’at.
4- Ruku’:Ruku’ is to bend forward at the waist, and it is fard. After the sûra, you bend for the ruku’ saying the takbîr [Allahu akbar]. In the ruku’ men open their fingers and put them on their knees. They keep their back and head level. In the ruku’ you say “Subhâna rabbiyal-azîm” at least thrice. If the imâm raises his head before you have said it three times, you must raise your head, too. In the ruku’ your arms and legs must be straight. Women do not open their fingers. They do not keep their head and back level, or their arms and legs straight. It is sunnat for the imâm as well as for people who are performing namâz by themselves to say “Sami’ allahu liman hamidah” while straightening up from the ruku’. The jamâ’at does not say it. Right after saying it, people who is performing namâz by themselves, and the jamâ’at, upon hearing the imâm recite it, must say “Rab’banâ lakal hamd,” and stand upright.
5- Sajda:Sajda is to prostrate. While kneeling down for the sajda saying “Allahu akbar,” put first the right knee and then the left knee, followed by the right and left hands, on the flor (or on the ground if it is performed outdoors). Finally, the nose and the forehead bones are put on the ground. Women also should keep their forehead uncovered during namâz. In the sajda, fingers must be closed, pointing towards the qibla in line with the ears, and the head must be between hands. It is fard that the forehead be touching on something clean, such as a stone, some earth, wood, cloth, and it is said (by savants) that it is wâjib to put the nose down, too. It is not permissible to put only the nose on the ground without an ‘udhr [good excuse]. It is makrûh to put only the forehead on the ground. In the sajda you must say “Subhâna rabbiyal-a’lâ” at least thrice. It is either fard or wâjib to put two feet or at least one toe of each foot on the ground. There are also some savants who say that it is sunnat. That is, if two feet are not put on the ground, namâz will either not be valid or it will become makrûh. If, during the sajda, the forehead, nose, or feet are raised from the ground for a short while, it will cause no harm.
In the sajda, it is sunnat to bend the toes and turn them towards the qibla. Men must keep their arms and thighs away from their abdomen. It is sunnat to place the hands and the knees on the ground. It is sunnat to keep the heels a four-finger-width away from each other in the qiyâm, but in the ruku’, qawma [standing upright after the ruku’] and sajda, they must be kept together. For doing this, when bending for the rukû, the heel of the left foot is brought near the right foot (but this applies to men; women do not join their feet together). They are separated again when standing up for the qiyâm after the sajda.
Sajda is done for Allahu ta’alâ only. It is performed towards the direction of Ka’ba, but not for the Ka’ba. One who makes sajda for the Ka’ba becomes a disbeliever.
6- Qada-i-âkhira:It is to sit as long as it takes you to say the prayer “Attahiyyâtu” in the last rak’at. When sitting, men put their left foot flat on the ground with its toes pointing towards the right. They sit on this foot. The right foot should be upright, with the toes touching the ground and pointing towards the qibla. It is sunnat to sit in this manner. Women sit by “tawarruk.” That is, they sit with their buttocks on the ground. Their thighs should be close to each other. Their feet should jut out from their right.
It is written in Durr-ul-mukhtâr:
“You do not make a sign with your fingers while sitting. The fatwâ says so.”
To observe the ta’dîl-i arkân
Ta’dîl-i arkân means remaining motionless for a while after becoming calm at five places in namâz, namely, at ruku’, at two sajdas, at qawma, and at jalsa. According to Imâm-i Abû Yûsuf, it breaks namâz to omit the ta’dîl-i arkân deliberately. However, according to the Tarafayn, that is, Imâm-i A’zam and Imâm-i Muhammad, even if it does not break namâz, it is wâjib to perform that namâz again as you have omitted the wâjib deliberately. If you omit it as a result of forgetfulness, then it is necessary to make the sajda-i sahw [two sajdas done as soon as namâz is over in order to have some errors that may have been done while performing namâz forgiven].
In the book Ethics of Islam, some of the disastrous consequences of not observing the ta’dîl-i arkân are listed as follows:
1- It causes poverty.
2- You are canonically discredited as a witness.
3- The place you have performed namâz will testify against you in the Hereafter.
4- It results in dying without îmân [faith].
5- You will have been the thief of your namâz.
6- Your namâz will be thrown back at your face like an old cloth.
7- It deprives you of Allahu ta’âlâ’s Mercy.
8- It causes the thawâb of your other acts of worship to perish.
9- You will have acted as a trigger for religiously ignorant people to omit the ta’dîl-i arkân. In this respect, religious men’s sinning brings about much more torment. [For example, if a man of religion performs namâz without wearing a headgear, this act of his is more offensive when compared with others’ because he will turn out to be a role model for religiously ignorant people.]
10- You will incur Allah’s Wrath.
11- You will please Satan.
12- You will become distant from Paradise but close to Hell.
13- You will have behaved cruelly towards yourself.
14- You will hurt the angels on your right and left.
15- You will upset our Master, the Prophet “sall-Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.”
16- You will have a detrimental effect on all creatures. Because, on account of your sin, it may not rain or may rain out of season, thus doing more harm than good.
Remaining motionless for a while after becoming calm at ruku’, sajda, qawma, and jalsa is termed ta’dîl-i arkân. For example, when you bend for the ruku’, you must not straighten up directly. The situation is the same with the qawma. That is, when you straighten up from the ruku’, you must remain upright for a while. It is also as such in between the two sajdas. These are called ta’dîl-i arkân. Recitation (the certain tasbîhs) is not an impediment to your remaining motionless. When we say the tasbîhs (in the ruku’ and sajda) three times, automatically, we will have waited; there is no need to wait further. In the qawma, when we say “Rabbanâ lakal hamd,” we will have waited, too.