Perfecting Prayer: Posture and Poise by @rhaihan_jannah


Today, we are having a guest writer. It is a wonderful piece by @rhaihan_jannah and I believe everyone would learn from this.

Salah; the second pillar of our beautiful Deen, is the single defining thing that sets us apart from non-muslims. To supplicate, praise, worship and exalt one's maker at appointed times of the day is the true marker of a Muslim. May Allah make Salah easy for those of us who struggle and make us be counted among those who pray and pray correctly. Ameen.

Perfecting one's Salah is of paramount importance in our daily worship. Little oversights and misdeeds may nullify our prayer and reduce this lofty opportunity to mere calisthenics.

The Prophet Muhammed (SAW) said: “A slave may pray and have nothing recorded for it except a tenth of it, or a ninth, or an eighth, or a seventh, or a sixth, or a fifth, or a quarter,or a third, or a half.” – Ahmad, Saheeh al-Jaami, 1626

Something as beautiful as Sajdah, as precise as Qiyam or as relieving as Ruku' becomes mere exercise when the position is wrongly performed or the form is not right. This is what we should concentrate on improving each time we're praying.

To see prayer as relaxation and time to focus and meditate is key to getting it done the proper way. One is expected to go through these various steps with full concentration and one's heart completely in the act of worship.

"Guard strictly your habit of prayers,especially the middle prayer, and stand before Allah in a devout frame of mind." - Q2:238

"... Celebrate Allah's praises in the manner He has taught you, which you knew not before" - Q2:239

May Allah save us from the distractions and machinations of the Shayateen.

The Prophet (SAW) advised: "Allah continues to turn towards His slave whilst he is praying, so long as he does not turn away, but if he turns away, Allah turns away from him." - Abu Dawood

Imploring us to concentrate and fix our gaze on our place of prostration so as to keep this focus.

We often find ourselves caught up in the maze of living and chasing the things in the dunya that we pray Salah like we were in a ferrari car race, towards an unseen finish line. May Allah not make us become a similitude of crashed race cars. Ameen.

Whilst praying, one should relax his joints and pray with ease and such calm that the body relaxes and finds itself in the most natural of ways. Salah should be soothing, as a spiritual communication with one's Illah and also a mode of physical therapy. Even science agrees with the positions of sajdah as one that helps relax and restore the body. I often think of Salah as a higher and much more beneficial spiritual yoga which heals and soothes in the gentlest of ways. Alhamdullilah.

Thus Prophet Muhammed (SAW) said: "Pray as you have seen me pray". - Bukhari

A template for prayer by the one who brought it to us as a mercy.

"Indeed the prayer of  one of you is not complete until he makes an excellent ablution as Allah commanded him to..then he celebrates Allah's greatness, praises and glorifies Him, then recites the Quran as much as is easy for him from what Allah has taught and allowed him, then says Takbir and makes Ruku' until his joints are at ease and relaxed, then stands up straight until every vertebra is returned to its place.... then prostrates till all his joints are at rest.."

Among the components of Salah, The Ruku' (bowing) and Sajdah (Prostration) are the most precise, and most often deficient.

The Prophet (SAW) saw a man praying without 'completing' his Ruku' properly and said: "Were this man to die in this state, he would die on a faith other than that of Muhammad's; he who does not make Ruku' completely and pecks in his Sujud is like the hungry person who eats one or two dates,which are of no use to him at all." - Bukhari and Muslim

Abu Qataadah said: The Prophet Muhammed (SAW) said: “The worst type of thief is the one who steals from his prayer.” He said, “O Messenger of Allah, how does a person steal from his prayer?” He said, “By not doing rukoo and sujood properly.” – Ahmad and al-Haakim

Ruku' "When you make Ruku', place your palms on your knees, then space your fingers out then remain like that till every limb takes its proper place". The Prophet Muhammed (SAW) would make rukuu and spread his back, making it level such that if water were poured on it,it would stay there and not run off, holding firm in his Ruku'. It was perfect in the way that his head was neither bent too low nor was it higher than his hip. His enter spine aligned in its anatomical form, easing out his back and relaxing his torso.

The Sujud/Sajdah  The Sajdah is a blessing. A Muslim is closest to Allah when in Sajdah, a time to supplicate and make du'a with no barriers between him and his Maker. It is described that he used to place his hands on the ground before his knees.

He (SAW) also said: "Verily, the hands prostate as the face prostrates, so when one of you places his face on the ground, he should place his hands and when he raises it, he should raise them." - Ahmad

The Prophet (SAW) would support himself on his palms and put his fingers together pointing them towards the qiblah, his palms level with his shoulders and his ears. He would put his nose and forehead firmly on the ground.

"There is no prayer, for one whose nose does not feel as much of the ground as the  forehead" - Tabarani

He used to keep his knees and toes down firmly, pointing the front of the toes to the qiblah, his heels staying together and his feet upright. His forearms would be raised above the ground and kept away from his sides. He also obliged us to be completely at ease throughout the sujud in order not to invalidate the entire salah. Subhannalah.

May Allah perfect our Deen, make us steadfast on the right path and purify for us our faith.

... And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.

Description of how the Prophet Muhammed (SAW) prayed, click here

For further reading "The Prophet's Salah described" by Sheikh Al-Albani

-Blessed Be

Written by: Raihanah Ibrahim

Twitter: @rhaihan_jannah