Salah is the second pillar of Islam and it is Fardh (obligatory) on every Muslim. We will be questioned about it without any exception on the Day of Judgment. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And be constant in prayer, and spend in charity, and bow down in prayer with all who thus bow down. (The Noble Quran” (Surah Al-Baqarah: Ayat 43)
It is quite natural to sometimes forget or commit mistakes unintentionally during Salah. Most of the time, it happens because we do not concentrate properly. Shaytan tries his level best to distract us and reduce our rewards. Prevention is the best medicine to make Shaytan lose this battle.
MISTAKES IN SALAH:
1. Delaying of the Salah intentionally:
When we get occupied endlessly in worldly matters, we tend to push Salah for later and end up not performing it at all. This huge error should be avoided at all costs.
What does the Quran say about Salah?
“Guard strictly (five obligatory) As-Salawat (the prayers) especially the middle Salat (i.e. Asr Prayers)” [2:238]
Narrated Ibn Umar (RA): Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said:
“Whoever misses the Asr prayers (intentionally), then it is as if he lost his family and property.” [Al-Bukhari]
Narrated Abu Al-Malih (R.A):
“We were with Buraidah in a battle on a cloudy day and he said, “Offer the Asr prayer early as the Prophet (SAW) said, “Whoever omits the Asr prayer, all his (good) deeds will be lost.” [Al-Bukhari]
2. Speedy Recitation of the Noble Quran in the Salah:
Instead of reciting the Surahs at high speeds which makes all the Ayahs unclear, we must take small pauses while reciting the Noble Quran during Salah.
“The Prophet (SAW) used to pause after each verse of Surah al-Fatiha. [Abu Dawood]
3. Disrespect of the Imam in moving before him in the congregational prayers:
The Imam is the highest authority when performing Salah in a congregation. It is disrespectful to be competing with the Imam by trying to move before or with him. The golden rule is – Always follow the Imam. Do not overtake him.
It was narrated that Anas bin Malik (RA) said; “The Messenger of Allah SAW led us in prayer one day, then turned to face us and said “I am now your Imam, so do not tend to bow or prostrate or stand or leave before I do. I can see you in front of me and behind me”
The Prophet (SAW) also states:“Surely the Imam is there to be followed” [Muslim]
The Prophet (SAW) said: “Does not the one who raises his head before the Imam does fear that Allah would transform his head into a donkey’s head” [Muslim]
4. Performing the Salah in a state of Hurriedness:
It is commonly seen that some of us pray like we have a plane to catch! Why is there such a hurried approach towards Salah? We must never forget that we are standing in front of our Almighty, Allah SWT and hence,pray with calmness and sincerity.
The Prophet (SAW) said: “He who does not complete his Rukoo and Sujood, his prayer is void” [Abu Dawood]
Abu Qatadah (RA) related that the Messenger of Allah SAW said: And the worst of thieves is the one who steals his prayer” .They said; “how does he steal his prayer, Messenger of Allah SAW?” He replied, “He does not Ruku or Sajdah properly”.
5. Lifting the Gaze in any direction during Salah:
Lifting the gaze is strictly not allowed during Salah and the only point to look at is downwards in the direction where you will place your forehead during Sujood.
Anas Ibn Malik (RA) said, The Prophet SAW said: “What is the matter with people who lift their gaze to heaven whilst praying? “And he spoke sternly concerning that, until he said: “they should stop that, or else their eyesight will be snatched away.” [Sahih Muslim]
6. Performing Sujood incorrectly:
It is a common observation in Salah to see our Muslim community performing Sujood by resting only the tip of the head on the ground.
The Prophet (SAW) said: “I am commanded to prostrate on seven bones the forehead and the nose, the two hands [palms], the two knees, and the two feet” [Muslim]
7. Refraining from performing Prayers during Illness or Traveling:
The Prophet (SAW) used to perform Salah sincerely and never skipped it whether he was in a battle or even during his final moments before death. What’s our excuse?
If a person cannot perform Wudu for Salah due to his illness, he may perform Tayammum (dry ablution). Also,if someone cannot stand in prayer, he may perform Salah while sitting or lying down. This applies to traveling too. The person can combine two Salah while traveling such as Zuhr and Asr or Maghrib and Isha.
8. Crossing a person when he is performing Salah:
It is not right to cross in front of a person performing Salah. It is preferable to place a Sutra (a long object) in front of the person in such a situation.
The Prophet (SAW) said: “Were the one who crosses in front of a praying person to know the consequences of doing so, he would have waited for forty better than to cross in front of him.” [Bukhari]
9. Rushing to the Masjid for Salah:
We often see our community members rushing to perform Salah at the last minute for fear of missing out. This is totally unacceptable.
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “When prayer has already started, do not walk quickly to join in. Proceed calmly and reposefully; then join in whichever part you catch up, and complete whichever part you missed”. [Bukhari and Muslim]
10. Consuming Foods with bad odor before performing Salah:
Foul smelling foods like garlic or onion should not be consumed before Salah because the odor may irritate the angels and the fellow mates in the Masjid.
The Prophet (SAW) said: “He who eats from the smelly plant [garlic or onion], let him come not near our mosque; the angels are bothered by that which bothers men” [Muslim]
The Prophet SAW said: ‘Were it not for the fact that I did not want to make things too hard for my Ummah (i.e. all Muslims), I would have commanded them to use the siwaak (natural toothbrush) at every time of prayer.’
11. Praying Nafl Salah after the Iqamah:
The Iqamah should be a wake up call for all the people to stop any Nafl prayers and begin praying the Fardh Salah at the time.
It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (RA) said: The Messenger of Allah SAW said: “When the Iqamah for prayer is said, there is no prayer except the prescribed prayer”.
12. Not Raising Hand in the Opening Takbeer:
It is obligatory to raise both hands at the beginning of every prayer. If we do not follow this important aspect of Salah, it will become null and void.
Narrated Abdullah bin Umar (RA) said: “I saw Allah’s Messenger SAW opening the prayer with Takbeer and raising his hands to the level of his shoulders at the time of saying the Takbeer, and on saying the Takbir for bowing he did the same”.
13. Waiting for the Imam to stand before you start Salah:
When you enter the Masjid and you find the Imam midway through Salah, it is not necessary for you to wait for him to return to standing position. You can just perform the opening Takbir and join him in that position.
Abdullah Ibn Mughafal (RA) narrated that the Messenger for Allah SAW said; “Whoever finds me in a state of Ruku, standing or in Sujood, let it be with the same position which I am in”.
14. Raising the Voice during Dhikr after Salah:
Dhikr refers to the recitation of verses from the Qur’an to glorify Allah SWT. If we recite loudly when doing Dhikr after Salah, we make the other worshippers quite uncomfortable as this results in them losing concentration.
Narrated Abu Sa’id al-Khdri (RA), the Messenger of Allah SAW said: “LO! Every one of you is calling his Lord quietly. One should not trouble the other and one should not raise the voice in recitation or in prayer over the voice of the other”.
15. Praying In Garments That Do not Cover the Shoulders:
If we missed covering our shoulders during Salah, we have nullified our Salah.
Narrated Abu Huraira (RA),the Prophet SAW said: “None of you should offer prayer in a single garment that does not cover the shoulder”.
16. Performing Sujood Like A Dog:
Anas Ibn Malik (RA) reported: The Prophet of Allah SAW said: “Be straight in prostration and let none of you put his forearms on the ground like a dog.”
17. Wearing clothes that do not cover the Awrah (men and women):
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) instructed the men to cover their Awrah( from the navel to the knee) and for women to cover their entire body except the face and hands. Skin tight clothing for both is inappropriate.
HOW TO RECTIFY MISTAKES MADE IN SALAH?
A Muslim should be capable of mending his mistakes during Salah and this can be achieved effectively by Sujood Sahw.
Sujood Sahw refers to the two prostrations of forgetfulness and almost all the narrations regarding the Prophet’s (SAW) reconfirm this.
We must always remember that Sujood Sahw compensates for only the minor mistakes committed during Salah and not bigger mistakes like not reciting Surah Fatiha, or starting prayer without Wudu and many more.
How do we Offer Sujud as-Sahw?
- If the Sahw is before Taslim, one must say “Allahu Akbar” and prostrate and say “Subhana Rabbi al-`Alaa” thrice.
- Then, one must say “Allahu Akbar” again and sit down.
- Then, one must say “Allahu Akbar” again and prostrate and say “Subhana Rabbi al-`Alaa.”
- Then, one must offer the Tasleem as usual.
To sum it all up, one might tend to feel dejected and demotivated while reflecting on the mistakes and shortcomings one may have been indulging in while performing their Salah. Fret not! Do not delve too much into them! Instead, take help of the most powerful tool we have at our disposal – Istighfar (seeking forgiveness)! Surely Allah is Oft-Forgiving.
We must pray to Allah SWT to guide us towards perfection of our Salah and safeguard it so that we may emerge victorious on the Day of Judgment, Aameen!