Friday, August 12, 2011

Random Facts About Prayers (Part I)

Muslims are obligated to pray 5 times a day. Most of us know the necessary information related to prayers as we are taught in school. We are also taught that we must have khusyu’ or focused in our prayers. Unfortunately, the little knowledge that we have about prayers will never be sufficient for us to truly understand prayers and enjoy it as how the Prophet SAW and his companions did.
There are numerous websites which explains in great details about prayers. I have mentioned one excellent website which explains about the sweetness of prayers (see; and also this post.) Read the articles at, seriously best.
For today, I thought I’d pick 2 random facts about prayers which I had learned from various teachers and learned people. These 2 random facts gave me different perspectives to prayers. Let’s begin.
Fact 1: The Niat
Have you seen people in the masjid who are unable to start praying and keep on repeating the Takbiratul Ihram so many times till it annoys you? The Imam would probably have made ruku’ and the guy beside you is still struggling to start his prayers.
Some strict teachers say that you have to first say the Arabic phrase of “Usalli Fardhal Maghribi, Thalatha raka’ataini, ma’muman, lillahi ta’ala”. Then you have to make the niah from the beginning of Takbiratul Ihram that is to say ALLLAAAAAAAHHHHHUUUU out loud and in your heart say the scripted “Sahaja aku solat fardhu Maghrib, tiga rakaat, mengikut imam, kerana Allah Ta’ala”. They say you have to mention the whole script before you finish HUUUAAAKKBAAAARRRR. Or you have to make your niah complete in between your Takbiratul Ihram.
It’s not easy to have your tongue say something else whilst your heart say something else in a different language. This leads to many Muslims unable to start a prayer because he is unable to complete the scripted niah within is Takbiratul Ihram.
If this is so, than the Arabs would have it easy as they need to only say the Arabic part and need not do the script-script-in-the-heart-in-Malay.
So upon further studying this, I found out that this is not right.
One thing for sure is that Allah is the Controller of the Hearts. He knows what is hidden inside and what is apparent. Nothing escapes His attention. With this in mind, if you go and make wudhu’ for a Maghrib, Allah already knows that you are going to pray Maghrib for Him. So before you make your Takbiratul Ihram, just say your niah (either out loud or whisper it in your heart) and then maker your Takbiratul Ihram to start your prayer. No need to say the scripted Malay niat in your heart in between your Takbiratul Ihram.
My personal view is that you don’t even have to make a formalized niah. To my mind, it is sufficient to say “I want to pray Maghrib as a ma’mum for Allah”. We all know Maghrib is 3 rakaat so if you are short of time (as the imam has already made ruku’ and you need to rush to catch that rakaat with him) I think it is enough for you to just say, “I want to pray Maghrib with this Imam for Allah”.
Fact 2: The Takbiratul Ihram
In school, I was taught that the Takbiratul Ihram means the Takbir that we do to begin our solah after we have made the niah or intention. My school teacher stopped there. None explained why it is called Takbiratul Ihram. Then I found out a different meaning to Takbiratul Ihram. Let’s start from the beginning.
Literally, Takbir means to say Allahu Akbar or God is the Greatest / God is Greater than anything else.
Next, we have to also understand, what is the meaning of Ihram. Ihram literally means to enter into a state of which certain actions are not permissible. Just like when we go for Umrah or Hajj, when we are in our Ihram, we cannot do a lot of things like to cover our head, to have intercourse etc.
As for Takbiratul Ihram, it means that we are saying Allahu Akbar to indicate the start of a period where all permissible things are no longer permissible to us except those which are allowed in a prayer. In other words, the moment we say Allahu Akbar and we raise our hands to our ears and then cross our hands on our tummy, we forbid ourselves from all the general permissible things. We cannot eat, sleep, drink, laugh, talk, jump, move about unnecessarily, thoughts, cook, blog, play football, etc. all these permissible acts are forbidden from the moment we make our Takbiratul Ihram and will continue to bind us until the prayer is over (we give salam) or annulled (eg we farted / break our wudhu’).
Because we make all the permissible things haram for us from the time we say Allahu Akbar, that is why it is called Takbiratul Ihram or in my own understanding: The Takbir that harams all acts otherwise permissible.
So the next time before you do Takbiratul Ihram, keep in mind that you have are about to forbid yourselves everything except that which is permissible in a prayer. That should keep set your mind to be more focused in your solah and insha Allah be more khusyu’.
More random facts on prayers to come Insha Allah.
Blog adjourned.

1 obiter dictum:

Rin said...

Saya pernah dengar ada Ustaz kata, budak kecil senang mengikut amalan.jadi, sebab itu kanak2 Islam diajar macam2 amalan dan kanak2 ini akan mengikut dengan mudah. Waktu ini masih belum sesuai untuk cerita ttg konsep/hikmah sesuatu amalan sebab belum masanya.

Nanti bila dah besar, barulah dia akan fikir kenapa kenapa dan kenapa dan akan mula belajar lebih mendalam lagi. Sebab itulah menuntut ilmu ini dikatakan aktiviti sepanjang hayat dan tidak terhenti di sekolah saja.