Category Archives: English



Muslim prayer is mostly group prayer.  It should be led by an imAm.  Muhammad enjoins that �when there are three persons, one of them should lead them� (1417).

Muhammad exhorts his followers to follow their imAm.  �When he prostrates, you should also prostrate; when-he rises up, you should also rise up,� he tells them (817).  He also forbids them to bow and prostrate themselves ahead of the imAm: �Does the man who lifts his head before the imAm not fear that Allah may change his face into that of an ass?� (860).  Also, those who are being led in prayer are required to keep pace with the imAm and are forbidden to recite so loudly as to compete with him.  When someone once did this, Muhammad told him: �I felt as if [you were] disputing with me . . . and taking out from my tongue what I was reciting� (783).  The imAm is authorized to appoint anyone as his deputy, when there is a valid reason for doing so, just as Muhammad appointed AbU Bakr during his last illness (832-844).

author : ram swarup



Muslim prayer is not carried on in one tranquil posture, sitting or standing; it is accompanied by many bodily movements.  These have been codified on the basis of the practice and precepts of Muhammad.  There are many ahAdIs on the subject.  One narrator saw Muhammad �raising his hands opposite the shoulders at the time of beginning the prayer and before bowing down and after coming back to the erect position after bowing, but he did not raise them between two prostrations� (758).  Another saw his �hands lifted opposite to ears.� He also saw that the Prophet �then wrapped his hands in his cloth and placed his right hand over his left hand.  And when he was about to bow down, he brought out his hands from the cloth, and then lifted them. . . . And when prostrated, he prostrated between the two palms� (792).

Muhammad was commanded by Allah that �he should prostrate on the seven bones and he was forbidden to fold back the hair and clothing.� The seven bones are: �The hands, the knees, and the extremities of the feet and the forehead� (991).  But he asked his followers to �observe moderation in prostration� and not to stretch out [their] forearms on the ground like a dog� (997).

Originally the practice had been to put one�s hands together, palm to palm, and then to put them between one�s thighs.  But later on this practice was abrogated and the followers were �commanded to place them [hands] on the knees� (1086-1092).

Another precaution: �People should avoid lifting their eyes towards the sky while supplicating in prayer, otherwise their eyes would be snatched away� (863).

author : ram swarup



When men hear the mu�azzin, they should repeat what he says and invoke blessings on Muhammad.  They should �beg from Allah al-WasIla for me, which is a rank in Paradise fitting for only one of Allah�s servants.  If any one who asks that I be given the WasIla, he will be assured of my intercession,� says Muhammad (747).

In a variation on this theme, if a man who hears a caller responds by testifying that he is �satisfied with Allah as my Lord, with Muhammad as Messenger, and with Islam as dIn [religion] his sins would be forgiven� (749).

In seeking blessings for himself, Muhammad does not forget his wives and progeny.  �Apostle of Allah, how should we bless you?� Muhammad is asked.  He replies: �O Allah! bless Muhammad, and his wives and his offspring. . . . He who blesses me once, Allah would bless him ten times� (807. 808).

author : ram swarup



AzAn became a great indicator.  Where it was heard, it meant that everything was not kufr (infidelity).  �The Messenger of Allah used to attack the enemy when it was dawn.  He would listen to the AzAn; so if he heard an AzAn, he stopped� (745).  This the commentator finds greatly virtuous in Muhammad.  �The greatest contribution made by the Holy Prophet in the sphere of warfare is that he elevated it from – the surface of reckless murder or slaughter to the level of humanized struggle for the uprooting of evil in society.  The Holy Prophet, therefore, did not allow his Companions to take the enemy unawares under the cover of darkness of night� (note 600).

author : ram swarup



We are told how the institution of azAn began.  In the beginning, in Medina, people forgathered in the mosque without knowing when they were to pray.  As a means of calling people to prayer at fixed times, some suggested using a bell, as the Christians did; others a horn, as the Jews did.  Some even suggested that a fire should be lighted.  All these methods were ruled out.  To make the Muslim practice different from that of the Jews, the Christians, and the Fireworshippers, the system of the human voice was introduced.  BilAl, who was very loud-throated, and �Abdullah b. Umm MaktUm, who later became blind, were the first mu�azzin (callers) (735, 737, 741).

AzAn is very effective.  �When Satan hears the call to prayer, he runs away to a distance like that of RauhA,� a distance of 36 miles from Medina (751).

author : ram swarup

HADEES : Prayer (SalAt)

Prayer (SalAt)

The fourth book is the �Book of Prayer� (SalAt).  It is the longest, with 1,398 ahAdIs divided into 203 chapters.  But in all these pages, one looks in vain for any reference to such problems as self-exploration and self-knowledge, problems of enduring concern for the spirituality of the Indian tradition.  There is not even a remote hint of different men endowed with different natures taking different paths toward a divinity differently figured.  As there is one Allah, one Guide, one Book, there is also one Prayer, caught and fixed in a single formula.

From the titles of the 203 chapters this book contains, one can see that they all relate to the externals: azAn (the call to prayer), postures like bowing, prostrating and rising, the number and times of the different prayers, the place of imAm in the system of prayers, the merits of prayers at different times, the prayer for rain, the prayer for protection against windstorms and other calamities, the prayer relating to the dead, and so on.

author : ram swarup



If one lost too much body heat during the bath, it could be regained by lying again in the embrace of one�s wife.  According to a hadIs quoted by TirmizI, �Aisha reports: �On many occasions it happened that the apostle of Allah came back to me after the bath of purification with the intention of warming up.  I �wrapped� him up round me even though I myself had not taken bath [and was therefore in a state of impurity]� (vol. I, hadIs 108).

Notwithstanding all these rules and regulations, Muhammad was not bound by them.  He had his Apostle�s privilege, which, in this case, he shared with �AlI.  According to AbU sa�Id, Muhammad told �AlI: �O �AlI!  It is not lawful for anyone except me and thee to go to a mosque in a state of sexual defilement� (TirmizI, vol. II, hadIs 1584).

author : ram swarup