Salah - one of the five pillars of Islam

What Is Necessary for a Valid Salah

Al-Fatihah must be recited during the Salah

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said, "Whoever prays a prayer and does not recite the opening chapter of the Qur'an has not prayed correctly." [Ahmad, al-Bukhari and Muslim]


What Invalidates Salah

Talking Intentionally About Something Other Than Salah

Zaid ibn Arqam relates: "We used to talk while we were in salah and a person would speak to the person next to him until the verse was revealed: 'And stand before Allah in devout obedience' and we were then commanded to observe silence during the salah." [Related by the group.]

Ibn Mas'ud reports: "We used to greet the Messenger of Allah while he was in salah and he would respond to our greeting. When we returned from Abyssinia, we greeted him [during prayer] but he did not respond to our salutation. We said to him: 'O Messenger of Allah, we used to greet you while you were in salah and you used to respond to us!' He then said: 'Prayer demands one's complete attention.'" [Bukhari and Muslim]


Praying the Entire Salah Behind the Rows, All By Yourself

Wabsah relates that the Messenger of Allah saw a man praying behind the rows by himself and the Prophet ordered him to repeat his salah. [related by the five save an-Nasa'i].

The Messenger of Allah was asked about a man who prays by himself behind the rows and he said: "He is to repeat his salah." [Ahmad. At-Tirmidhi called this hadith hasan and Ahmad's chain is good.]

'Ali ibn Shaiban relates that the Messenger of Allah saw a man praying behind the row and he waited for him and (when he finished) told him: "Go forward (and join the row) for the salah of a person standing alone behind the rows is not valid." [related by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and al-Baihaqi. Ahmad says it is hasan. Ibn Sayyid an-Nass said its narrators are well-known, trustworthy people.]

The majority stick to the hadith of Abu Bakra who said that he preformed part of the prayer, behind the row, and the Prophet did not order him to repeat his salah. Repeating the salah signifies overzeal in practicing what is recommended and better.

Turning the Entire Upper Body Away from the Qiblah During Fard (Obligatory) Salah, Without Genuine Need

'Aishah says: "I asked the Messenger of Allah about turning in salah and he said: 'It is the portion that the Satan steals from the slave's prayer.'" [Ahmad, al-Bukhari, an-Nasa'i, and Abu Dawud]

Abu ad-Darda' narrates from the Prophet : "O people, be careful about turning for there is no salah for the one who turns. If you must do it, do it in the voluntary prayers and not in the obligatory prayers." [related by Ahmad]

Anas relates that the Messenger of Allah said to him: "Be careful about turning during the salah as turning in the salah is disastrous. If you must do it, then do it in the voluntary prayers but not in the obligatory prayers." [related by at-Tirmidhi who calls it sahih]

In the hadith of al-Harith al-Ash'ari , the Prophet said: "Allah gave Yahya, son of Zakariyah, five commands that he was to abide by and was to order the tribe of Isra'el to abide by..." One of them was, "Verily, Allah orders you to pray, and when you pray, do not tum for Allah looks to the face of His slave in salah as long as he does not turn." [Ahmad and an-Nasa'i]

Abu Dharr reported that the Prophet said: "Allah faces the slave while he is in the salah and keeps facing him as long as he does not turn. If [the slave] turns, [Allah] turns away from him." [Ahmad and Dawud. Dawud said its chain of narrators (isnad) is sahih]


Making Many Actions that Lead a Viewer To Believe That You Are Not in Salah

An-Nawawi says: "If a person performs a lot of actions that are not part of the salah, he invalidates his salah, and, on this point, there is no difference of opinion. If the acts are few, then they do not invalidate the salah and, on this point, there also is no difference of opinion. This is the exact position. However, there does exist a difference of opinion over what exactly constitutes a few actions and many actions...". He says that the exact definitions of too much and too little are determined by generally accepted standards. One is not harmed in his salah by common acts such as nodding in reply to a salutation, taking off one's shoes, raising the headdress and putting it back in place, putting on or taking off a light garment, carrying or holding a small child, preventing someone from passing in front of the person in prayer, covering one's spittle in one's clothing and similar other actions. As for the other acts, those which are considered to constitute many actions (e.g., taking many consecutive steps, performing actions repeatedly) they invalidate the prayer.

An-Nawawi also says: "The scholars are in agreement that many actions invalidate the prayer if they are performed consecutively [i.e., one after another]. If one separates the actions, for instance, taking a step and then stopping for a while, then taking another step or two, and then another two steps, after a pause (though a short one) between them, then the salah will not be harmed, even if he in this manner should take a hundred or more steps. There is no difference of opinion on this point. As for light actions, such as moving one's finger in glorifying Allah or in itching, and so forth., these do not invalidate the prayer according to the well-known, authentic opinion, even when they are done repeatedly and consecutively, but they are disliked."

AshShaf'i says: "Even if one counts the verses on one's fingers, it would not invalidate one's salah, but it is best to avoid [such an act]."


Laughing Hearty During Salah

Ibn al-Mundhir records that there is a consensus of opinion that laughing (during the salah) invalidates the prayer. An-Nawawi says: "This is the case if one laughs aloud, and produces sound. Most of the scholars say that there is no problem with smiling. If one is overcome by laughter and cannot control it, his salah will not become invalid if it is of minor nature. If it is a hearty laughter, it will invalidate the salah. Custom would determine whether it is a major or a minor laughter."



What Does Not Invalidate Salah

Talking out of Necessity About the Salah

Abu Hurairah says: "The Messenger of Allah led us in either the noon or after-noon prayers and he made the taslim after praying just two rak'at. Dhul Yadain said to the Prophet: 'O Messenger of Allah, has the salah been shortened or have you forgotten [part of it]?' The Prophet said: 'It has not been shortened, nor did I forget any part of it." He said: 'Yes, O Messenger of Allah, you did forget.' Thereupon the Prophet asked (the people): 'Is Dhul Yadain correct in what he says?' The people said: 'He is correct, you offered only two rak'at.' Then, the Prophet prayed the two remaining rak'at and made the taslim, said the takbir and performed the sajdah, sat and made the takbir and performed the sajdah again, and finally said the takbir and sat again." [Bukhari and Muslim]

One should first say "SubhanAllah" (if male) or clap (if female) to alert the imam to a vital mistake in salah. If this is not sufficient, speaking may be necessary.

Al-Auza'i's [Rahimahu 'Llah] comments are: "Whoever intentionally speaks during the salah, seeking some benefit to the salah, does not invalidate his salah." He said that if a person recites aloud in the 'asr and someone behind him says: "It is the 'asr," (i.e., the recital is not to be aloud) then the latter person would not invalidate his salah.


Holding/Carrying a Child During Salah

'Abdullah ibn Shidad relates that his father said: "The Messenger of Allah came to us either during the noon or afternoon prayers and he was carrying Hassan or Hussain. The Prophet proceeded to the front and put him down and made the takbir for the salah. During the salah, he made a long sajdah. I raised my head and saw the child on the back of the Messenger of Allah while he was in sajdah. I returned to my sajdah. When the Messenger of Allah finished the salah, the people said to him: 'O Messenger of Allah, you prostrated during your salah so long that we suspected you were thinking about some matter or you were receiving some revelation.' He said: 'None of that happened but my son was resting and I hated to rush him until he had finished what he desired."' [related by Ahmad, an-Nasa'i, and al-Hakim]

The Prophet came out towards us, while carrying Umamah, the daughter of Abi Al-As (his grand-daughter) over his shoulder. He prayed, and when he wanted to bow, he put her down, and when he stood up, he lifted her up. [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 25: Narrated Abu Qatada]


Taking Actions to Prevent an Animal, Child, or Adult from Passing Between Praying Person and His or Her Sutrah

GROUP SALAH. During group salah, women should have means to assure that her children will not interrupt the salah of others by walking in front of their sutrah. She may hold a child, have another person watch it during salah, confine the child with a 'play pen' or otherwise, or allow an older child to sit quietly if confident that the child is not likely to wander away and perhaps put himself or others in danger. The point here is that she should take responsibility and prevent her children from wandering away from supervision.

Once while he was praying, two girls from the tribe of 'Abd al-Muttalib were fighting behind him and he separated them with his arms while he was praying. Ahmad's version says that they grabbed onto his knees and he separated them without leaving the salah.

The Imam who is leading the salat is responsible for making efforts to prevent anyone from passing between him and his sutrah. However, it is permissible for individuals to walk between the rows of the congregation. Sometimes it may be necessary for a follower to pick up and carry or move a child out of the way, such as if it is in your place of prostration, but know that the sunnah act of repulsing (pushing if necessary) anyone that tries to pass in front of you only applies to the imam leading the prayer or to the individual salah as we will explain below.

INDIVIDUAL SALAH. In a person's individual salah, she may also carry a child. If she has more than one young child, and if no older children or adults are available to monitor her small children, she should safely and comfortably confine the children so that they cannot wander into danger or cross her sutrah. In the event that she has no means to confine them, she should do her best to do her salah with the children safely in her grasp and be sure that no-one wanders off beyond a safe distance, and that she prevents anyone from crossing her sutrah. Women often get worn out from disciplining their young children, but this is one instance when she should not be lax... be consistent in restricting children's movement during salah. Encourage children with a sufficient attention span and with the patience to remain in place, to perform salah with the mother.

When he was praying, a boy came to him and he motioned to him to move back, and he moved back. Then a girl tried to pass in front of him, he beckoned her to move back, but the girl passed, and when he finished, he said: "They are more determined." [Ahmad recorded it and it is also in the Sunan.]

Abu al-Waddak said: "A young person tried to pass in front of Abu Sa'id while he was praying. Abu Sa'id held him off and then the young man tried again. Abu Sa'id pushed him off. This happened three times and when [Abu Sa'id] finished [the prayer], he said: 'The salah is not invalidated by anything but the Messenger of Allah said: 'Repulse [the person who is trying to pass in front of you] to the best of your ability for he is a devil.'" [Abu Dawud]

The Prophet said, "If while you are praying, somebody intends to pass in front of you, prevent him; and should he insist, prevent him again; and if he insists again, fight with him (i.e. prevent him violently e.g. pushing him violently), because such a person is (like) a devil." [Bukhari 4.495]

Abu Saleh as-Saman said: "I will narrate to you what I heard and saw from Abu Sa'id al-Khudri. One day I was with Abu Sa'id and he was offering salah on Friday facing something which concealed him from the people when a young man from the tribe of Mu'ait came and tried to pass in front of Abu Sa'id. He pushed him back. He tried again and Abu Sa'id struck him harder. The two scuffled. The man went to Marwan to complain. Abu Sa'id also went to Marwan. Marwan asked: 'What has happened between you and the son of your brother that caused him to complain?' Abu Sa'id said: 'I heard the Prophet say: 'If any of you prays toward a sutrah and someone tries to pass in front of you, then turn him away. If he refuses, use force for he is a devil."' [Bukhari and Muslim]


Clearing One's Throat to Allow Someone to Enter

'Ali ibn Abi Talib said: "I had a certain time at which I would visit the Messenger of Allah. When I came to him, he would permit me to enter. If I found him praying, he would clear his throat and I would enter. If he was free, he would give me permission to enter." This is recorded by an-Nasa'i and Ahmad. Ahmad's version says: "I could enter upon the Prophet during the day or night. If I came to him while he was praying, he would clear his throat [as a sign that I may enter]." [related by Ahmad who used to act by it and he was not of the opinion that clearing one's throat invalidated the salah.]

Returning the Greeting (As sala'amu alaikum) with a Motion of Hand or Head

'Abdullah ibn 'Umar says: "I asked Suhaib: 'How did the Messenger of Allah respond to the people when they greeted him while he was praying?' He said: 'He would signal to them with his hand.'" [Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and Ibn Majah]

Jabir said: "The Messenger of Allah sent me somewhere while he was going to the tribe of Mustaliq. I came to him and he was praying while on the back of his camel. [When] I spoke to him, he and Zubair motioned with their hands. I heard him reciting and saw him gesturing with his head. When he finished, he said: 'What have you done about the thing I sent you for? Nothing kept me from talking to you save that I was in salah.'" [Ahmad and Muslim]


Crying or Other Sounds of Sadness

'Abdullah ibn ash-Schikhir relates: "I saw the Messenger of Allah praying and his chest was 'buzzing', like the buzzing of a cooking pot, due to crying." This is related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and at-Tirmidhi. The latter classifies it as sahih.

'Umar prayed fajr and recited Surah Yusuf, and when he reached the verse "I expose my distress and anguish only unto Allah," he raised his voice in crying. [Bukhari, Sa'id ibn Mansur, and ibn al-Mundhir]

'Abdullah ibn ash-Schikhir relates: "I saw the Messenger of Allah praying and his chest was 'buzzing', like the buzzing of a cooking pot, due to crying." [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, and at-Tirmidhi. The latter classifies it as sahih]

Praying in a different room, or with a curtain or wall between you and the Imam, as long as you can hear the opening takbir.

Al-Bukhari records: "Al-Hassan said: 'There is no problem if you pray and between you and him [the imam] there is a river.' Abu Majliz said: 'Follow the imam, even if between you and him there is a road or a wall, as long as you can hear the opening takbir.'"

Sa id ibn Mansur, ash-Shaf'i, al-Baihaqi, and al-Bukhari, in his comments, relate from Abu Hurairah that he prayed at the top of the mosque while following the imam. Anas used to pray in the room of Abu Naf'i to the right of the mosque and the room was his height's high and its door faced the mosque of Basrah and Anas would pray in it, following the imam. The companions did not say anything about it. This is related by Sa'id ibn Mansur in his Sunan.



Disliked Acts in Salah

NO-NO's

The following are disliked, but are not believed to invalidate your salah.

Don't make salah if needing to relieve oneself in the bathroom. Go to the bathroom first.

Thauban reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "There are three acts which are not allowed: For a person to lead a people in prayer and then make supplications for himself without including them, for then he would be dishonest to them; to look inside a house without obtaining permission, for if he does so (it is as if) he has already entered it (without permission); and to offer prayer while he needs to answer the call of nature until he relieves himself." [related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and at-Tirmidhi who calls it hasan]


Don't make salah if the food is already served. Eat first.

'Aishah reported that she heard the Messenger of Allah say: "No one should pray when the food is served nor when one needs to answer the call of nature." [related by Ahmad, Muslim, and Abu Dawud]

Al-Khattabi says: "The Prophet ordered that one should begin with one's meal in order to satisfy his need. In this way, he will come to the salah in calm and his desire or hunger will not disturb the completion or perfection of his ruku' and sajjud and the rest of the acts of the salah."


Don't look upwards. Don't look around. Fix your eyes downward on the area where you will make sajda.

Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "Those who raise their sight to the sky during the prayer should stop doing so or their sight may be taken away." This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and an-Nasa'i.

'Aishah reports that the Messenger of Allah prayed in a cloak which had some designs on it. He said: "These designs have distracted me. Take [this cloak] to Abu Jahm [i.e., the person who gave it to the Prophet] and bring me a plain cloak." [al-Bukhari and Muslim].


Don't make excessive movements, unless out of necessity.

An-Nawawi says: "...moving one's finger in glorifying Allah or in itching, and so forth., these do not invalidate the prayer according to the well-known, authentic opinion, even when they are done repeatedly and consecutively, but they are disliked."

AshShaf'i says: "Even if one counts the verses on one's fingers, it would not invalidate one's salah, but it is best to avoid [such an act]."


Don't intertwine your fingers while preparing for Salah or during the Salah.

Ka'b relates that the Messenger of Allah said: "When one of you makes wudu', perfects the wudu', and leaves with the intention of going to the mosque, he should not intertwine his fingers as he is [considered to be] in salah." [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and atTirmidhi]

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri says: "I entered the mosque with the Messenger of Allah while a man was sitting in the middle of the mosque with his fingers intertwined. The Messenger of Allah motioned to him but the man did not notice or understand him. The Messenger of Allah turned and said: 'If one of you is in the mosque, he should not intertwine his fingers as intertwining of the fingers is from the Satan, and you are in the prayer while you are in the mosque until you leave it."' [Ahmad]


Men should not pray with garment hanging beneath the ankle

Do not tuck or fold clothes (such as in an attempt to raise the garment above the ankle)

The Prophet was ordered (by Allah) to prostrate on seven parts and not to tuck up the clothes or hair (while praying). Those parts are: the forehead (along with the tip of nose), both hands, both knees, and (toes of) both feet. [Bukhari 1.773, Narrated Ibn Abbas]


Do not always pray without shoes.
"He used to stand (in prayer) bare-footed sometimes and wearing shoes sometimes." [Abu Dawood & Ibn Maajah. It is a mutawatir hadeeth as Tahaawi has mentioned.

He (saaws) said: When one of you prays, he should wear his shoes or take them off and put them between his feet, and not harm others with them. [Abu Dawood & Bazzaar (53, az-Zawa'id); Haakim declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed.]

Be different from the Jews, for they do not pray in their shoes nor in their khuffs (leather socks). [Abu Dawood & Bazzaar (53, az-Zawa'id); Haakim declared it saheeh and Dhahabi agreed.]

The Messenger of Allah (saaws) prayed with us one day. Whilst he was engaged in the prayer he took off his shoes and placed them on his left. When the people saw this, they took off their shoes. When he finished his prayer he said, Why did you take your shoes off? They said, 'We saw you taking your shoes off, so we took our shoes off.' He said, Verily Jibreel came to me and informed me that there was dirt - or he said: something harmful - (in another narration: filth) on my shoes, so I took them off. Therefore, when one of you goes to the mosque, he should look at his shoes: if he see in them dirt - or he said: something harmful - (in another narration: filth) he should wipe them and pray in them. [Abu Dawood, Ibn Khuzaimah & Haakim, who declared it saheeh and Dhahabi and Nawawi agreed. The first one is given in Irwaa' (284)]

When he removed them, he would place them on his left [Abu Dawood, Ibn Khuzaimah & Haakim, who declared it saheeh and Dhahabi and Nawawi agreed.]

The Prophet saaws would say: When one of you prays, he should not place his shoes on his right nor on his left, where they will be on someone else's right, except if there is no one on his left, but he should place them between his feet. [Abu Dawood, Nasaa'i & Ibn Khuzaimah (1/110/2) with a saheeh isnad]


What to say when still learning how to recite ayats for salah

Says al-Khattabi, "Basically, one's prayer does not suffice if he does not recite al-Fatihah. If one can recite neither al-Fatihah nor other portions of the Qur'an, he should recite at least seven verses of a similar meaning from the Qur'an. If he can not learn any part of the Qur'an (due to some innate inability, poor memory, or because it's a foreign language), he should say the tasbeeh (Subhaan Allah - Glory be to Allah), the tamheed (al-Hamdu lillah - All praise is due to Allah), and tahleel (La ilaha illal-lah - There is no God except Allah). It is related that he said, "The best remembrance after the speech of Allah is Subhaan Allah, al-Hamdu lillah, La ilaha illal-lah and Allahu akbar." This is supported by Rafa'ah ibn Rafa', who narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, "If you have something from the Qur'an, recite it. If not, then say the tamheed, takbir and the tahleel and then bow."

This hadith is related by Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa'i and al-Baihaqi. The former considers it as hassan.


Group Fard (Obligatory) Salah

Women cannot be denied their request to attend the masjid, but it is important to note that women are not required to attend the masjid for salah, as it is superior in blessings for them to perform it in their home. Perhaps this is due to the fitnah of having to prepare and bring the children with her, and perhaps it is to supplement her right to privacy and protect her reputation. Allahu Alam (Allah is All-Knower, i.e. Allah knows best).

Ibn 'Umar reports that the Prophet said: "Do not prevent the women from going to the mosques, although their houses are better for them." [Ahmad and Dawud]

Umm Humaid as-Sa'diyah came to the Messenger of Allah and said: "O Messenger of Allah, I love to pray with you." The Prophet said: "I am aware of that, but your salah in your residence is better for you than your salah in your people's mosque. And your salah in your people's mosque is better than your salah in the [larger] congregational Mosque." [Ahmad and at-Tabarani]

Men, on the other hand, are required to gather for salah when there are as little as three muslims in the community. This is to protect them from going astray and being devoured by the Shaytaan.

Abu ad-Darda' reports that the Messenger of Allah said: "If there are three men in a village or desert and salah is not established among them, then the Satan takes mastery over them. So be with the congregation since the wolf devours the remote (stray) sheep." [Abu Dawud with a hasan chain]

'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud says: "If anyone would like to meet Allah tomorrow as a Muslim, he should persevere in observing these five prayers whenever the call for them is made, for Allah has chosen for your Prophet the way of right guidance. And the [five prayers in congregation] are part of this right guidance. If you were to pray them in your houses, as this man who stays behind in his house, you would be leaving a sunnah of your Prophet. If you leave the sunnah of your Prophet, you would go astray. Verily, I have seen a time when no one stayed away from them [the congregational prayers] except for the hypocrites who were well known for their hypocrisy. A man would be brought, supported by two people [due to his weakness] until he was placed in a row." [Muslim]

The Prophet was reported on an occasion to be so mad at those men who did not attend the community prayer, that he expressed a desire to set fire to their houses.

Abu Hurairah also reports that the Prophet said: "By Him in whose hand is my soul! I have considered ordering a fire to be kindled and then ask someone to lead the people in salah. And then go to the men [who did not attend the prayer] and burn their houses over them." [Bukhari and Muslim]

In addition, traveling farther to join a larger congregation provides a greater reward from Allah, swt.

Abu Musa narrates that the Prophet said: "The one who gets the greatest reward for a prayer is the one who walks the farthest distance." [Muslim]

Stand directly next to the person you are praying next to; do not leave a gap in between.

Hadith - Dawud 667, Narrated Anas ibn Malik

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Stand close together in your rows, bring them near one another, and stand neck to neck, for by Him in Whose hand my soul is, I see the devil coming in through openings in the row just like a small black sheep.

Hadith - Dawud 666, Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Set the rows in order, stand shoulder to shoulder, close the gaps, be pliant in the hands of your brethren, and do not leave openings for the devil. If anyone joins up a row, Allah will join him up, but if anyone breaks a row, Allah will cut him off.

Ibn 'Umar says: "There is no step that carries a greater reward than the step a man takes to an empty gap in a row in order to fill it." [Related by al-Bazar with a hasan chain]

Abu Umamah reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Straighten your rows and put your shoulders close to each other and be gentle with each other and fill in the gaps for the Satan passes through what is between you like small sheep [are able to pass through gaps]." [Related by Ahmad and at-Tabarani with a chain that has no fault in it]


Nawafil Salah

Nawafil salah are prayers said in addition to Fard (Obligatory) salah, including the Sunnah prayers of Fajr, Zuhr, 'Asr, Maghrib and 'Isha. The Prophet saaws performed these prayers often, but not always. They are unlike the Fard salah, and are not required to be done all the time; to exceed the Prophet (saaws) in his frequency, becomes a sin of being extreme in the religion.

Abdullah ibn 'Umar reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Make some of your prayers in your houses and do not turn your houses into graves." This statement is related by Ahmad and Abu Dawud.

Abu Dawud records from Zaid ibn Thabit on sound authority that the Messenger of Allah said: "A person's salah in his house is better than his salah in my mosque, except for the fard salah."

An-Nawawi says: "The Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam encouraged one to offer nawafl in one's house because then the prayers are more private and will have less of a chance of being done for show and will be free from defects that vitiate good deeds. Furthermore, this will be a blessing for the house as mercy and angels will descend on it while Satan flees from it."


Do not make sunnah salat after Fajr or after Asr.

Hadith - Bukhari 7.709
The Prophet had forbidden: (A) the Mulamasa and Munabadha (bargains), (B) the offering of two prayers, one after the morning compulsory prayer till the sun rises, and the other, after the 'Asr prayer till the sun sets. (C) He also forbade that one should sit wearing one garment, nothing of which covers his private parts, (D) and prevent them from exposure to the sky; (E) he also forbade Ishtimal-as-Samma'.


Jumu'ah Salah
Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet said: "Whoever makes ghusl on the day of Jumu'ah and then goes to the mosque and prays what has been prescribed for him, and remains quiet while the imam delivers the khutbah, and then prays with the imam, he will have forgiven for him what is between that Jumu'ah and the next and an additional three days." [Muslim]

Ibn Umar and AbuHurayrah heard Allah's Messenger say on the planks of his pulpit: People must cease to neglect the Friday prayer, or Allah will seal their hearts and then they will be among the negligent. [Muslim]


Who must attend?

Salatul Jumu'ah is an obligation upon every free, adult, sane, resident Muslim who has the ability to attend the salah and does not have a valid excuse to miss it. Salatul Jumu'ah, however, is not obligatory on the following:

1. Women and children. Concerning this category there is no difference of opinion.

2. The person who is ill and faces hardship if he goes to the mosque, or who fears that his illness will be increased by going to the mosque, or whose recovery will be delayed. This also includes the person who is nursing a very ill person if, especially, the ill person cannot manage in the absence of the nursing person.

Tariq ibn Shihab reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Al-Jumu'ah is a duty upon every Muslim in the community, save four: a slave, or a woman, or a child, or a person who is ill." An-Nawawi says that its chain is sahih according to the conditions set by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Ibn Hajr says that more than one person has graded it sahih.

3. For the traveler, even if he is staying at a certain place during the time of the beginning of salatul Jumu'ah, it is not obligatory. This is based on the fact that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam traveled and did not perform the salatul Jumu'ah but only prayed the zuhr and 'asr together during the time of the zuhr prayers. The caliphs after him and others also acted in a similar manner.

4. One who is in debt and cannot repay his debt and therefore fears that he will be imprisoned, and one who fears that he will be harmed by an oppressive ruler: Ibn 'Abbas reports that the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam said: "Whoever hears the call to the salah and does not respond to it [i.e.,by coming to the salah], there will be no prayer for him unless he has an excuse." The people inquired: "O Messenger of Allah, what is a [valid] excuse?" He answered: "Fear or illness." This is related by Abu Dawud with a sahih chain.

5. Environmental restraints like rain, mud, extreme cold, and so on. Ibn 'Abbas said to the mu'adhdhin on a rainy day: "When you say 'I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,' do not say 'Come to the prayer,' but say 'Pray in your houses."' The people objected to that and he told them: "One better than me did so [the Prophet sallallahu alehi wasallam]. Al-Jumu'ah is an obligation but I dislike that you should go out walking in the mud and slush." Abi Malih reports that his father had witnessed the day of Jumu'ah with the Prophet and it was raining and the people were troubled by their shoes so he ordered them to pray in their stopping places. This is related by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah.

All of these people are not obliged to pray the Friday salah although they are obliged to pray the zuhr. Should one of them pray salatul Jumu'ah, it will still be valid for him or her and he will no longer be obliged to pray the zuhr. And the women during the time of the Prophet attended the mosque and used to pray al-Jumu'ah with him.

[this section on who must attend was taken in entirety from Fiqh 2.131a]


Paying Attention when the Imam is Giving the Jumua Khutba (Sermon)

Hadith - Al-Muwatta 5.8

Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu'n Nadr, the mawla of Umar ibn Ubaydullah, from Malik ibn Abi Amir that Uthman ibn Affan used to say in khutbas, and he would seldom omit it if he was giving the khutba, "When the imam stands delivering the khutba on the day of jumua, listen and pay attention, for there is the same portion for someone who pays attention but cannot hear as for someone who pays attention and hears. And when the iqama of the prayer is called, straighten your rows and make your shoulders adjacent to each other, because the straightening of the rows is part of the completion of the prayer." Then he would not say the takbir until some men who had been entrusted with straightening the rows came and told him that they were straight. Then he would say the takbir.


The Noble Qur'an 7:204

So, when the Qur'ân is recited, listen to it, and be silent that you may receive mercy. [i.e. during the compulsory congregational prayers when the Imâm (of a mosque) is leading the prayer (except Sûrat Al-Fâtiha), and also when he is delivering the Friday-prayer Khutbah]. [Tafsir At-Tabari, Vol.9, Pages 162-4]


Bukhari 2.51, Narrated Abu Hurairah

The Prophet said, "When it is a Friday, the angels stand at the gate of the mosque and keep on writing the names of the persons coming to the mosque in succession according to their arrivals. The example of the one who enters the mosque in the earliest hour is that of one offering a camel (in sacrifice). The one coming next is like one offering a cow and then a ram and then a chicken and then an egg respectively. When the Imam comes out (for Jumua prayer) they (i.e. angels) fold their papers and listen to the Khutba."


Don't leave the jumuah..

Bukhari 2.58, narrated Jabir bin Abdullah

While we were praying (Jumua Khutba & prayer) with the Prophet (p.b.u.h), some camels loaded with food arrived (from Sham). The people diverted their attention towards the camels (and left the mosque), and only twelve persons remained with the Prophet. So this verse was revealed: "But when they see Some bargain or some amusement, They disperse headlong to it, And leave you standing." (62.11)


Noble Qur'an 62:11

And when they see some merchandise or some amusement [beating of Tambur (drum) etc.] they disperse headlong to it, and leave you (Muhammad SAW) standing [while delivering Jumu'ah's religious talk (Khutbah)]. Say "That which Allâh has is better than any amusement or merchandise! And Allâh is the Best of providers."


FAJR SALAH


Hadith - Bukhari 1:530, Narrated Abu Huraira

Allah's Apostle said, "Angels come to you in succession by night and day and all of them get together at the time of the Fajr and 'Asr prayers. Those who have passed the night with you (or stayed with you) ascend (to the Heaven) and Allah asks them, though He knows everything about you, well, "In what state did you leave my slaves?" The angels reply: "When we left them they were praying and when we reached them, they were praying."


Hadith - Bukhari 1:531, Narrated Abu Huraira

Allah's Apostle said, "If anyone of you can get one Rak'a of the 'Asr prayer before sunset, he should complete his prayer. If any of you can get one Rak'a of the Fajr prayer before sunrise, he should complete his prayer."


ASR SALAH

The Noble Qur'an Al-Baqarah 2:238

Guard strictly (five obligatory) As­Salawât (the prayers) especially the middle Salât (i.e. the best prayer ­ 'Asr).[] And stand before Allâh with obedience [and do not speak to others during the Salât (prayers)].

Hadith

Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever misses the 'Asr prayer (intentionally) then it is as if he lost his family and property."


Hadith - Bukhari 1:530, Narrated Abu Huraira

Allah's Apostle said, "Angels come to you in succession by night and day and all of them get together at the time of the Fajr and 'Asr prayers. Those who have passed the night with you (or stayed with you) ascend (to the Heaven) and Allah asks them, though He knows everything about you, well, "In what state did you leave my slaves?" The angels reply: "When we left them they were praying and when we reached them, they were praying."


Hadith - Bukhari 1:531, Narrated Abu Huraira

Allah's Apostle said, "If anyone of you can get one Rak'a of the 'Asr prayer before sunset, he should complete his prayer. If any of you can get one Rak'a of the Fajr prayer before sunrise, he should complete his prayer."


ISHA SALAH


Hadith - Bukhari 1:543, Narrated Abu Barza

Allah's Apostle disliked to sleep before the 'Isha' prayer and to talk after it.


IF IMAM MAKES AN ERROR DURING SALAH

Hadith - Bukhari 1:652, Narrated Sahl bin Sa'd As-Sa'idi

"...If something happens to anyone during his prayer he should say Subhan Allah. If he says so he will be attended to, for clapping is for women."

If the Imam, or yourself if praying by yourself, makes a mistake in the salah of neglecting to include something or adding to it (such as accidentally doing an extra rakat and realizing it later), s/he should make two prostrations, known as the prostrations of forgetfulness.

Hadith - Dawud 1020, Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas

The Prophet (peace be upon him) named the two prostrations of forgetfulness disgraceful for the devil.

Hadith - Dawud 1024, Narrated Abu Sa'id al-Khudri

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: When one of you prays, and he does not know whether he prayed more or less rak'ahs (than those prescribed by the Shari'ah), he should perform two prostrations while he is sitting. If the devil comes to him, and tells him (suggests him): "You have been defiled," he should say: "You have told a lie," except that he feels smell with his nose, or sound with his ears (then his ablution will break). These are the wording; of the tradition reported by Aban.


SAFETY

The Noble Qur'an Al-Baqarah 2:239

And if you fear (an enemy), perform Salât (pray) on foot or riding. And when you are in safety, offer the Salât (prayer) in the manner He has taught you, which you knew not (before).


PRAYING IN A CHURCH

Fiqh-us-Sunnah 2.75

Abu Musa al-Ash'ari and 'Umar ibn 'Abdulaziz prayed in a church. Ash-Sh'abiy, 'Ata, and Ibn Sireen did not see anything wrong with praying in a church [if one happened to be in a church at the time of salah]. Al-Bukhari says: "Ibn 'Abbas would pray in churches [under unusual circumstances] except for those with statues or sculptures." The Muslims of Najran wrote to 'Umar saying that they found no place cleaner or better to pray in than a church. 'Umar wrote to them: "Sprinkle it with water and leaves and pray therein." According to the Hanafi and Shaf'i schools, it is disliked to pray in such places in general.