(Excerpts taken from Explanation of Important Lessons For Every Muslim)
by Abdul-Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz
The Conditions For Prayer شروط الصلاة
There are nine conditions or requisites for prayer: Islam الإسلام, sanity العقل, (the age of) discernment التمييز, the removal of Hadath رفع الحدث, removal of any impurity إزالة النجاسة, the covering of one’s Awrah (any area of that body the must be covered) ستر العورة, the entrance of its time دخول الوقت, facing the Qiblah استقبال القبلة, and intention النية.
In Arabic, the conditions are called Shuroot شروط , the plural of Shart, which linguistically means a sign. However, in the Shari’ah, it has another meaning: When it is nonexistent it necessitates nonexistence, but when it is existent, it does not necessitate existence. Put more simply, if there is no purity, then there is no prayer, but if one is pure, it is not necessarily the case that he has to pray (at the specific moment). And by the conditions of prayer, we are referring to those conditions upon which the correctness of one’s prayer depends.
The Nine Conditions For Prayer:
1) الإسلام وضده الكفر Islam, the opposite of which is disbelief (kufr). The disbeliever’s actions are rejected, no matter what deed it is he performs, for Allah Almighty says:
ما كان للمشركين أن يعمروا مساجد الله شاهدين على أنفسهم بالكفر أولئك حبطت أعمالهم وفي النار هم خالدون
“It is not for the polytheists to maintain the Masjids of Allah, while they witness against their own selves of disbelief. The works of such are in vain and in Fire shall they abide.” [At-Tawbah 9:17]
And in another verse, Allah Almighty says:
وقدمنا إلى ما عملوا من عمل فجعلناه هباء منثورا
“And We shall turn whatever deeds they (disbelievers) did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust.” [Al-Furqan 25:23]
The only prayer that is accepted is the Muslim’s prayer, a reality that is proven by this verse:
وَمَنْ يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا فَلَنْ يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the hereafter he will be one of the losers.” [Aal ‘Imran 3:85]
2) العقل وضده الجنون Sanity, the opposite of which is obviously insanity or madness. The Pen is raised for the insane person, which means that he is not held accountable for his deeds until he returns to his sense. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
رفع القلم عن ثلاثة: النائم حتى يستيقظ، والمجنون حتى يفيق، والصغير حتى يبلغ
“The Pen has been raised from three: the one who is sleeping, until he awakens; the insane person, until he returns to his senses; and the child, until he reaches puberty.”
Recorded by Ahmad in his Musnad, and Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah.
3) التمييز وضده الصغر The age of discernment, the opposite of which is early childhood years. The age of discernment is realized at the age of seven, the time when a child must be ordered to pray, for the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
مروا أبناءكم بالصلاة لسبع ، واضربوهم عليها لعشر ، وفرقوا بينهم في المضاجع
“Order your sons to pray when they turn seven, and hit them (if they refuse) when they turn ten, and at that time, make them sleep in separate beds.”
Recorded by Al-Hakim, Imam Ahmad, and Abu Dawud, and in one version it is: Order your children……
4) رفع الحدث وهو الوضوء The removal of Hadath (impurity/filth), and there are two kinds of Hadath; (i) the greater one, (ii) the lessor one. The former includes menstruation and sexual intercourse; one purifies himself from these forms of Hadath by performing Ghusl. An example of the latter is the passing of wind, and this form of Hadath is removed by ablution; the Messenger of Allah said:
لا يقبل الله صلاة أحدكم إذا أحدث حتى يتوضأ
Allah does not accept the prayer of one in a state of Hadath until he performs ablution. (Agreed upon)
5) زالة النجاسة من ثلاث : من البدن، والثوب، والبقعةإ The removal of impurities from three: from one’s body, from one’s clothing, and from the place one prays in.
“And your garments purify!” [Al-Muddaththir 74:4]
Purify yourselves from urine because verily, it is the most common reason for punishment in the grave.
6) ستر العورة The covering of of one’s Awrah (any area of the body that must be covered) with clothing that doesn’t reveal one’s shape, skin, or complexion. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
“Allah does not accept the prayer of a women who has reached the age of menstruation unless she wears a veil.” (Recorded by Abu Dawud)
The people of knowledge concur that if one is able to wear clothes, but prays naked instead, then his prayer is invalid. The Awrah for a man, or the area of his body that must be covered, is the area between his belly button and his knees, and the same goes for the female slave. The ‘Awrah of the free women is her entire body except for her face, and even that must be covered when she is in the presence of strange men. In a Hadith related by Salmah bin Al-Akwa’, the Messenger of Allah ordered him to cover himself, even if he had only one garment to accomplish that. And Allah Almighty says:
يا بني آدم خذوا زينتكم عند كل مسجد
“O children of Adam! Take your adornment to every Masjid.” [Al-A’raf 7:31]
That means, for the prayer.
7) دخول الوقت The entrance of the prayer’s time. The proof for this condition is taken from the Hadith of Jibril, peace be upon him, wherein he led the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in each prayer, once at the beginning of the time for each prayer, and then at the end of its time. He said,
يا محمد، الصلاة بين هذين الوقتين
” O Muhammad, the prayer is between these two times,”
Allah Almighty says:
إنّ الصلاة كانت على المؤمنين كتابا موقوتا
“Verily, the prayer is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours.” [An-Nisa 4:103]
أقم الصلاة لدلوك الشمس إلى غسق الليل وقرآن الفجر إن قرآن الفجر كان مشهودا
“Perform As-Salat from midday till the darkness of the night, and recite the Qur’an in the early dawn. Verily, the recitation of the Qur’an in the early dawn is ever witnessed (attended by the angels in charge of mankind of the day and the night).” [Al-Isra’ 17:78]
8 ) استقبال القبلة Facing the Qiblah:
قد نرى تقلب وجهك في السماء فلنولينك قبلة ترضاها فول وجهك شطر المسجد الحرام وحيث ما كنتم فولوا وجوهكم شطره
“Verily! We have seen the turning of your face towards the heaven. Surely, We shall turn you a Qiblah (prayer direction) that shall please you, so turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid Al-Haram (in Makkah). And wherever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction.” [Al-Baqarah 2:144]
9) النية ومحلها القلب، والتلفظ بها بدعة Intention: it resides in the heart and its utterance is an innovation. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
إنما الأعمال بالنيات وإنما لكل امرئ ما نوى
“Indeed, deeds are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended.”