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The Prophet's Prayer (SAWS)

Recitation

 

Recitation

Next, he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would seek refuge with Allaah the Exalted, saying:

I seek refuge with Allaah from the Evil One, the Rejected, from his madness123, his arrogance, and his poetry124. Sometimes he would add to this, saying:

I seek refuge with Allaah, the all-Hearing, the all-Knowing, from the Evil One ...125

Then he would recite,


In the Name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy, but not loudly126.




Recitation of one Verse at a Time

Next, he would recite Soorah al-Faatihah and divide his recitation, reciting one verse at a time. He would say:

[Here he would pause, and then say:]

[Then he would pause, and then say:]

[Then he would pause, and then say:]

... and so on, until the end of the soorah. The rest of his recitation was also like this: stopping at the end of the verse and not joining it with the one after.127

Sometimes, he would recite,


(King of the Day of Judgment) instead of

(Master of the Day of Judgment).128




The Necessity of al-Faatihah, and its Excellence

He would vehemently emphasise the importance of this soorah, saying: "There is no prayer for the one who did not recite [in it] the opening chapter [at least]"129, and in another saying: That prayer is not sufficient in which a man does not recite the Opening of the Book130. He also said: He who performs a prayer in which he does not recite the Opening of the Book, then it (i.e. the prayer) is deficient, it is deficient, it is deficient, incomplete.131. He also said:

Allaah the Blessed and Exalted has said: "I have divided the prayer132 between Myself and My servant, into two halves: half of it is for Me and half is for My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for." Then the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: Recite! The servant says "Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds"; Allaah the Exalted says "My servant has praised Me". The servant says, "The Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy"; Allaah says, "My servant has extolled Me". The servant says "Master of the Day of Judgment"; Allaah the Exalted says, "My servant has glorified Me". The servant says, "It is You (alone) we worship and it is You (alone) we ask for help"; [He says:], "This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for". The servant says, "Guide us to the Straight Path, the Path of those whom You have favoured, not of those who receive Your anger, nor of those who go astray". [He says:], "All these are for My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for."133

He also used to say: Allaah did not reveal in the Torah or the Gospel anything like the Mother of the Qur'aan. It is the Seven Oft-Repeated134[and the Grand Recitation which have been bestowed upon me].135

He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) commanded "the one who prayed badly" to recite it in his prayer136, but said to one who could not remember it, Say:


(I declare Allaah free from all defects; all Praise be to Allaah; none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah; Allaah is the Greatest; there is no might or power except by Allaah)137.

He also said to "the one who prayed badly": If you know some of the Qur'aan, then recite it, otherwise praise Allaah, declare His Greatness and declare that none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah;138



The Abrogation of Recitation behind the Imaam in the Loud Prayers

He had given permission for those being led by the Imaam to recite Soorah al-Faatihah in the loud prayers, when once:

"he was praying Fajr and the recitation became difficult for him. When he finished, he said: Perhaps you recite behind your imaam. We said: "Yes, quickly139, O Messenger of Allaah." He said: Do not do so, except for [each of you reciting] the opening chapter of the Book, for the prayer is not valid of the one who does not recite it.140

Later, he forbade them from reciting in the loud prayers at all, when:

"He finished a prayer in which he was reciting loudly (in one narration: it was the dawn prayer) and said: Were any of you reciting with me just now?! A man said: "Yes, I was, O Messenger of Allaah". He said: I say, why am I contended with? [Abu Hurairah said:] So the people stopped reciting with the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) when he was reciting loudly after hearing that from him [but they recited to themselves quietly when the imaam was not reciting loudly]."141

He also made silence during the imaam's recitation part of the completeness of following the imaam, saying: The imaam is there to be followed, so when he says takbeer, say takbeer, and when he recites, be silent142, just as he made listening to the imaam's recitation enough to not have to recite behind him, saying: He who has an imaam, then the recitation of the imaam is recitation for him143 - this applying in the loud prayers.



The Obligation to Recite in the Quiet Prayers

As for the quiet prayers, he urged them to recite during them; Jaabir said, "We used to recite behind the imaam in Zuhr and 'Asr: soorah al-Faatihah and another soorah in the first two rak'ahs, and soorah al-Fatihah in the last two."144

However, he dissuaded them from confusing him with their recitation, when:

"he prayed Zuhr with his Companions and said (afterwards): Which of you recited "Glorify the name of your Lord the Most High" (soorah al-A'laa, 87)? Someone said: It was I [but I was only intending nothing but good by doing so]. So he said: I knew that someone was contending with me by it.145 In another hadeeth: "They used to recite behind the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) [loudly], so he said: You have mixed up my (recitation of the) Qur'aan.146

He also said: Truly, the person praying is privately consulting his Lord, so he should be careful about what he consults him with, and you should not recite the Qur'aan loudly over each other.147

He also used to say: Whoever recited a harf (letter) from the Book of Allaah, it will count for him as one good deed, and a good deed is worth ten times over. I do not mean that "alif laam meem" is a harf, but "alif" is a harf, "laam" is a harf, and "meem" is a harf.148



The aameen, and the Imaam's saying it Loudly

When he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) finished reciting al- Faatihah, he would say:

("aameen") loudly, prolonging his voice.149

He also used to order the congregation to say aameen: When the imaam says,


"Not of those who receive (Your) anger, nor of those who go astray", then say "aameen" [for the angels say "aameen" and the imaam says aameen"] (in another narration: when the imaam says "aameen" say "aameen"), so he whose aameen coincides with the aameen of the angels (in another narration: when one of you says "aameen" in prayer and the angels in the sky say "aameen", and they coincide), his past sins are forgiven.150 In another hadeeth: ... then say aameen; Allaah will answer you.151

He also used to say: The Jews do not envy you over anything as much as they envy you over the salutation and aameen [behind the imaam].152



The Recitation after al-Faatihah

Next, he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would recite another soorah after al-Faatihah, making it long sometimes, and on other occasions making it short because of travel, cough, illness or the crying of infants.

Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: "He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) made it [i.e. the recitation] short one day in the dawn prayer." (In another hadeeth: he prayed the morning prayer and recited the two shortest soorahs in the Qur'aan.) So it was said: "O Messenger of Allaah, why did you make it short?" He said: I heard the crying of a child, and I supposed that his mother was praying with us, so I wanted to free his mother for him.153

He also used to say: I enter into prayer intending to lengthen it, but I hear the crying of a child so I shorten my prayer because I know how deeply his mother feels about his crying.154

He used to start from the beginnning of a soorah, completing it most of the time.155

He used to say: Give every soorah its share of rukoo' and sujood.156 In another narration: Every soorah should have a rak'ah.157

Sometimes he would divide the soorah into two rak'ahs158 and sometimes he would repeat the whole soorah in the second rak'ah159.

Sometimes he would combine two or more soorahs in one rak'ah.160

One of the Ansaar used to lead them in the mosque of Qubaa', and every time he recited a soorah161 for them, he would begin with "Say: He is Allaah, the One and Only " (soorah al- Ikhlaas, 112) until its end, and then recite another soorah with it, and he would do this in every rak'ah. Because of this, his people spoke to him, saying: "You begin with this soorah, and then you do not regard it as enough until you recite another one: you should either recite it (only) or leave it and recite another one. He said: "I will not leave it: if you do not mind me leading you with it, I shall carry on, but if you do not like it, I shall leave you." They knew that he was one of their best, and they did not like to be led by anyone else, so when the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) came to them, they told him the story. He said: O so- and-so, what stops you from doing what your people ask you to? What makes you recite this soorah in every rak'ah? He said: "I love this soorah." He said: Your love for it will enter you into the Garden.162



Combining Similar Soorahs and others in One Rak'ah

He used to combine the pairs163 of the mufassal164 soorahs, so he used to recite one of the following pairs of soorahs in one rak'ah165:
  • ar-Rahmaan (55:78)166 & an-Najm (53:62);
  • al-Qamar (54:55) & al-Haaqqah (69:52);
  • at-Toor (52:49) & Dhaariyaat (51:60);
  • al-Waaqi'ah (56:96) & al-Qalam (68:52);
  • al-Ma'aarij (70:44) & an-Naazi'aat (79:46);
  • al-Mutaffifeen (83:36) & 'Abasa (80:42);
  • al-Muddaththir (74:56 ) & al-Muzzammil (73:20);
  • ad-Dahr (76:31) & al-Qiyaamah (75:40);
  • an-Naba (78:40) & al-Mursalaat (77:50);
  • ad-Dukhaan (44:59) & at-Takweer (81:29).
Sometimes he would combine soorahs from the seven tiwaal (long soorahs), such as al-Baqarah, an-Nisaa' and aal-Imraan in one rak'ah during night prayer (below). He used to say: The most excellent prayer is one with long standing.167

When he recited, "Does He not have the power to give life to the dead?" (Qiyaamah 75:40), he would say,


(Glory be to You, of course!)

and when he recited,"Glorify the name of your Lord Most High" (A'laa 87:1), he would say,


(Glorified be my Lord Most High).168




The Permissibility of Reciting al-Faatihah only

Mu'aadh ibn Jabal used to pray 'Ishaa' [the last] with the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam), and then return and lead his people in prayer. One night when he returned and prayed with them, a young man [called Sulaim, of the Banu Salamah] from his people prayed, but when it became too long for him, he [went away and] prayed [in the corner of the mosque], then came out, took the reins of his camel and departed. When Mu'aadh had prayed, this was mentioned to him, so he said: "He surely has some hypocrisy in him! I will surely tell the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) what he has done." The young man said: "And I will tell the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) what he has done." So in the morning they came to the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam), and Mu'aadh informed him of what the young man had done. The young man said: "O Messenger of Allaah! He stays a long time with you, and then he returns and lengthens it for us." So the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: Are you one who causes great trouble, Mu'aadh?! and he said to the young man169: What do you do when you pray, son of my brother? He said: "I recite the opening chapter of the Book, then I ask Allaah for the Garden, and seek refuge with Him from the Fire. I know neither your dandanah170 nor the dandanah of Mu'aadh!" So the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: I and Mu'aadh are similar in this.

The narrator said: The young man said, "But Mu'aadh will know (about me) on going to the people when they will have been informed that the enemy has arrived." The narrator said: So the enemy came, and the young man attained shahaadah (martyrdom). So after that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said to Mu'aadh, What did the one disputing with me and you do? He said, "O Messenger of Allaah, he was true to Allaah, and I spoke falsely - he was martyred."171



Quiet and Loud Recitation in the Five Prayers and others

He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to recite loudly in the morning prayer and in the first two rak'ahs of Maghrib and 'Ishaa', and quietly in Zuhr, 'Asr, the third rak'ah of Maghrib and the last two rak'ahs of Ishaa'.172

They could tell when he was reciting quietly from the movement of his beard173, and because he would let them hear an aayah or so sometimes174.

He also recited loudly in Friday prayer and the two 'Eid prayers175, in the prayer for rain176, and in the eclipse prayer177.



Quiet and Loud Recitation in the Night Prayer (Tahajjud)178

As for night prayer, he would sometimes recite quietly and sometimes loudly179, and "he used to recite in his house such that he could be heard in the courtyard."180 "Occasionally he would raise his voice more than that until someone lying in bed could hear him"181 (i.e. from outside the courtyard).

He ordered Abu Bakr and 'Umar (Allaah be pleased with them) likewise, when:

"he came out at night to find Abu Bakr (Allaah be pleased with him) praying in a low voice, and he passed by 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab (Allaah be pleased with him) who was praying in a loud voice. Later, when they gathered around the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: O Abu Bakr, I passed by you and you were praying in a low voice? He said: "I let Him whom I was consulting hear, O Messenger of Allaah." He said to 'Umar: I passed by you and you were praying raising your voice? So he said: "O Messenger of Allaah, I repel drowsiness and keep the devil away." The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: O Abu Bakr, raise your voice a little bit and to 'Umar: lower your voice a little bit.182

He used to say: The one who recites the Qur'aan loudly is like the one who gives charity loudly, and the one who recites the Qur'aan quietly is like the one who gives charity quietly.183



What he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to Recite in the Different Prayers

As for which soorahs and aayaat he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to recite in prayer, this varied according to the different prayers. The details now follow, beginning with the first of the five prayers:

1 - Fajr Prayer

He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to recite the longer mufassal184 surahs185, hence "he (sometimes) recited al-Waaqi'ah (56:96) and similar surahs in two rak'ahs"186.

He recited from soorah at-Toor (52:49) during the Farewell Pilgrimage.187

Sometimes "he would recite soorah Qaaf (50:45) or similar [in the first rak'ah]."188

Sometimes "he would recite the shorter mufassal surahs, such as "When the sun is folded up" (at-Takweer 81:29)."189

Once, he recited "When the Earth is shaken" (Zilzaal 99:8) in both rak'ahs, so that the narrator said, "I do not know whether the Messenger of Allaah forgot or recited it on purpose."190

Once, on a journey, he recited "Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the Daybreak" (Falaq 113:5) and "Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of Mankind" (Naas 114:6).191 He also said to 'Uqbah ibn 'Aamir (may Allaah be pleased with him): Recite the mu'awwadhatain192 in your prayer, for no seeker of refuge has sought refuge by means of anything like them.193

Sometimes he used to recite more than that: "he would recite sixty aayaat or more"194 - one of the narrators said, "I do not know whether this was in each rak'ah or in total."

He used to recite soorah ar-Room (30:60)195 and sometimes soorah Yaa Sin (36:83)196.

Once, "he prayed the Subh [i.e. Fajr Prayer] in Makkah and started reciting soorah al-Mu'minoon (23:118) until, when he got to the mention of Moosaa and Haaroon or the mention of 'Isa197 - one of the narrators was not sure - he started coughing and so made rukoo'."198

Sometimes, "he would lead them in Fajr with as-Saaffaat" (77:182).199

"In Fajr on Friday, he would recite as-Sajdah (32:30) [in the first rak'ah, and, in the second,] ad-Dahr" (76:31).200

He used to make the first rak'ah longer than the second.201

Recitation in the Sunnah prayer before Fajr

His recitation in the two rak'ahs of sunnah in Fajr used to be extremely short202, so much so that 'Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) used to say: "Has he recited soorah al- Faatihah or not ?"203

Sometimes, after al-Faatihah, he would recite the aayah "Say: We believe in Allaah and the revelation given to us..." (Baqarah 2:136) in the first rak'ah; in the second, the aayah "Say: O People of the Book! Come to common terms as between us and you..." (aal-'Imraan 3:64).204 Occasionally, he would recite instead of the latter, "When 'Isa found unbelief on their part..." (aal-'Imraan 3:52).205

Sometimes he would recite soorah al-Kaafiroon (109:6) in the first rak'ah, and soorah al-Ikhlaas (112:4) in the second;206 also, he used to say: An excellent pair of soorahs they are!207 He heard a man reciting the former soorah in the first rak'ah, so he said, This is a slave who believes in his Lord. Then the man recited the latter soorah in the second rak'ah, so he said, This is a slave who knows his Lord.208

2- Zuhr Prayer

"He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to recite al-Faatihah and two soorahs in the first two rak'ahs, making the first one longer than the second."209

Sometimes he would make lengthen it to the extent that "the Zuhr prayer would have started, and someone could go to a plain: al-Baqi,' fulfil his need, [come back to his place,] make his ablution, and then come (to the mosque) while the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was still in the first rak'ah, it was that long."210. Also, "they used to think that he did it so that the people could catch the first rak'ah."211

"He used to recite in each of these two rak'ah about thirty aayaat, such as al-Faatihah followed by soorah as-Sajdah (32:30)."212

Sometimes "he would recite "By the Sky and the Night-Visitant" (Taariq, 86:17), "By the Sky, (displaying) the Constellations" (Burooj, 85:22), "By the Night as it conceals" (Layl, 92:21) and similar soorahs."213

Occasionally, he recited "When the Sky is rent asunder" (Inshiqaaq 84:25) and similar ones.214

"They could tell that he was reciting in Zuhr and 'Asr from the movement of his beard."215

Recitation of Aayaat after al-Faatihah in the last two Rak'ahs

"He used to make the last two rak'ahs about half as long as the first two, about fifteen aayaat216, and sometimes he would recite only al-Faatihah in them."217

Sometimes "he would let them hear an aayah or so."218

"They would hear the tones of his recitation of "Glorify the name of your Lord Most High" (A'laa 87:19) and "Has the story reached you of the Overwhelming ?" (Ghaashiyah 88:26)."219

Sometimes "he would recite "By the Sky and the Night-Visitant" (Taariq, 86:17), "By the Sky, (displaying) the Constellations" (Burooj, 85:22), and similar soorahs."220

Sometimes "he would recite "By the Night as it conceals" (Layl 92:21) and similar soorahs."221

3- 'Asr prayer

"He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to recite al-Faatihah and two (other) soorahs in the first two rak'ahs, making the first one longer than the second"222, and "they used to think that he did it so that the people could catch the rak'ah."223

"He used to recite about fifteen aayaat in each of the first two rak'ahs, about half as much as he recited in each of the first two rak'ahs of Zuhr, and he used to make the last two rak'ahs about half as long the first two."224

"He used to recite al-Faatihah in the last two."225
"He would let them hear an aayah or so sometimes."226

He used to recite the surahs mentioned under "Zuhr prayer" above.

4- Maghrib prayer

"He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to (sometimes) recite the short mufassal soorahs"227, so that "when they had finished praying with him, they could go away and (it was possible to) shoot an arrow and see where it landed."228 Once, "while on a journey, he recited "By the Fig and the Olive" (Teen 95:8) in the second rak'ah."229

But sometimes he would recite the long or medium mufassal surahs, hence "he would recite "Those who disbelieve and hinder (men) from the Path of Allaah" (Muhammad 47:48);"230 or soorah at-Toor (52:49);231 or soorah al-Mursalaat (77:50), which he recited in the last prayer he prayed.232

Sometimes "he would recite the longer of the two long surahs233 (A'raaf 7:206) [in two rak'ahs]."234 Or he would recite al- Anfaal (8:75) in two rak'ahs.235

Recitation in the sunnah prayer after Maghrib

In this prayer, "he used to recite "Say: O you who reject faith" (Kaafiroon 109:6) and "Say: He is Allaah, the One and Only" (Ikhlaas 112:4)."236

5- 'Ishaa' prayer

He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would recite the medium mufassal surahs in the first two rak'ahs237, hence "he used to recite "By the Sun and his splendour" (Shams 91:15) and surahs like it."238

Or "he would recite "When the Sky is rent asunder" (Inshiqaaq 84:25) and make sajdah during it."239 Also, "he once recited "By the Fig and the Olive" (Teen 95:8) [in the first rak'ah] while on a journey."240

He forbade prolonging of recitation in 'Ishaa', and that was when:

Mu'aadh ibn Jabal led his people in 'Ishaa' prayer, and made it very long for them, so one of the Ansaar left and prayed (alone). When Mu'aadh was informed about this, he said: "He is surely a hypocrite". When the man heard of this, he went to the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and told him what Mu'aadh had said, so the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said to him: "Do you want to be on who causes a lot of trouble, Mu'aadh?! When you lead the people, recite "By the Sun and his splendour" (Shams 91:15) or "Glorify the Name of your Lord Most High" (A'laa 77:19) or "Read in the Name of your Lord" ('Alaq 96:19) or "By the Night as it conceals" (Layl 92:21) [because the old, the weak and those who have a need to fulfil pray behind you]."241

6- Night prayer (Tahajjud)

He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would sometimes recite loudly in it and sometimes quietly,242 He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would shorten his recitation in this sometimes and lengthen it sometimes, occasionally making it so exceedingly long that 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood (radi Allaahu 'anhu) once said: "I prayed with the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) one night, and he carried on standing for so long that I was struck by a wrong idea." He was asked, "What was this idea?" He said: "I thought I would sit down and leave the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam)!"243

Also Hudhaifah ibn al-Yamaan said:

"I prayed with the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) that night when he started soorah al-Baqarah (2:286). So I said (to myself), "He will make rukoo' after one hundred aayaat". But he carried on after that, so I thought, "He will finish it (the soorah) in two rak'ahs". But he carried on, so I thought, "He will make rukoo' when he has finished it." Then he started soorah an-Nisaa' (4:176) and recited it all, then he started soorah aal-'Imraan (3:200)244 and recited it all. He was reciting slowly; when he came to an aayah in which there was glorification of Allaah, he glorified Allaah; at an aayah which had something to be asked for, he asked for it; at mention of seeking refuge, he sought refuge (with Allaah). Then he made rukoo' ... " to the end of the hadeeth.245

Also, "one night when he was ill he recited the Seven Long surahs."246

Also, "he would (sometimes) recite one of these surahs in each rak'ah."247

"It was [totally] unknown for him to recite the whole Qur'aan in one night."248 In fact, he did not recommend it for 'Abdullaah ibn 'Amr (may Allaah be pleased with him) when he said to him:
Recite the whole Qur'aan in each month. I said: "I have the power (to do more than that)." He said: Recite it in twenty nights. I said: "I have the power to do more". He said: Then recite it in seven days and do not go beyond that.249 Then "he allowed him to recite it in five days."250 Then "he allowed him to recite it in three days."251 Further, he forbade him from reciting it in less time than that252, and he gave a reason for that by saying to him: Whoever recites the Qur'aan in less than three days does not understand it.253 In another version: He does not understand, the one who recites the Qur'aan in less than three days.254 Also when he said to him: For every worshipper has a (period of) keenness255 and every (period of) keenness has a lapse256, either towards a sunnah or towards a bid'ah (innovation); so he whose lapse is towards a sunnah has found guidance, and he whose lapse is towards other than that has been destroyed.257

For this reason, "he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would not recite the whole Qur'aan in less than three days."258

He used to say: Whoever prays at night reciting two hundred aayaat will be written down as one of the sincere devotees.259 Also, "he used to recite soorah Bani Israa'eel (17:111) and soorah az-Zumar (39:75) every night."260 He also used to say: Whoever prays at night reciting a hundred aayaat will not be written down as one of the heedless.261 Sometimes "he would recite about fifty aayaat or more in each rak'ah"262, or he "would recite about as much as soorah al-Muzzammil (73:20)."263

"He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would not pray all through the night"264 except rarely, for once:

" 'Abdullaah ibn Khabbaab ibn al-Arat - who was present at (the Battle of) Badr with the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) - stayed up the whole night with the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) (in another version: a night when he prayed throughout it) until it was dawn. So when he finished his prayer, Khabbaab said to him: "O Messenger of Allaah, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you! Tonight, you have prayed a prayer the like of which I have never seen?" He said: Yes, it was a prayer of hope and fear; [indeed] I asked my Lord, Mighty and Sublime, three things; He granted me two, but refused me one. I asked my Lord that He would not destroy us the way the nations before us were (in another version: that He would not destroy my ummah with famine) and He granted me this; I asked my Lord, Mighty and Sublime, that He would not impose on us an enemy from outside us, and He granted me this; and I asked my Lord not to cover us with confusion in party strife, but He refused me this." "265

Also, one night he stood (in prayer) repeating one aayah until it was dawn:

"If You do punish them, they are Your servants; if You do forgive them, You are indeed the Exalted in Power, the Wise." (Maa'idah 5:121) [with it he bowed, with it he prostrated, and with it he supplicated], [so in the morning Abu Dharr (radi Allaahu 'anhu) said to him: "O Messenger of Allaah, you did not stop reciting this aayah until it was morning; you bowed with it and you prostrated with it] [and you supplicated with it,] [whereas Allaah has taught you the whole Qur'aan;] [if one of us were to do this, we would be stern with him?] [He said: Indeed I asked my Lord, the Mighty and Sublime, for intercession for my ummah: He granted me it, and it will be possible if Allaah wills for whoever does not associate any partners with Allaah.266

A man said to him: "O Messenger of Allaah, I have a neighbour who stands (in prayer) at night and does not recite anything except "Say: He is Allaah the One and Only" (Ikhlaas 112:4), [repeating it,] [not adding anything else,] as if he considers it little." So the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, it is worth a third of the Qur'aan.267

7- Witr prayer

"He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to recite "Glorify the Name of Your Lord Most High" (al-A'laa 87:19) in the first rak'ah, "Say: O you who disbelieve" (Kaafiroon 109:6) in the second, and "Say: He is Allaah the One and Only" (Ikhlaas 112:4) in the third.268 Sometimes he would add on to the last one "Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of Daybreak" (Falaq 113:5) and "Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of Mankind" (Naas 114:6).269 Once, "he recited a hundred aayaat from soorah an-Nisaa' (4:176) in the third rak'ah."270

As for the two rak'ahs after witr271, he used to recite "When the earth is shaken " (Zilzaal 99:8) and "Say: O you who disbelieve" (Kaafiroon 109:6) in them.272

8- Friday Prayer

He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would sometimes recite soorah al-Jumu'ah (62:11) in the first rak'ah and "When the hypocrites come to you" (Munaafiqoon 63:11)273 in the second, sometimes reciting "Has the story reached you of the Overwhelming?" (Ghaashiyah 88:26) instead of the latter.274 Or sometimes "he would recite "Glorify the Name of your Lord Most High" (A'laa 87:19) in the first rak'ah and "Has the story reached you" (Ghaashiyah 88:26) in the second."275

9-'Eid Prayer

"He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) would (sometimes) recite "Glorify the Name of your Lord Most High" (A'laa 87:19) in the first rak'ah and "Has the story reached you" (Ghaashiyah 88:26) in the second."276 Or sometimes "he would recite in them "Qaaaaf. By the Glorious Qur'aan." (Qaaf 50:45) and "The Hour has drawn near" (Qamar 54:55)."277

10- Funeral Prayer

"The Sunnah is to recite al-Faatihah278 [and another soorah] in it."279 Also, "he would be silent for a while, after the first takbeer."280



Tarteel (Recitation in slow, rhythmic tones), & Making the Voice Beautiful when Reciting

He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to recite the Qur'aan in slow, measured rythmic tones as Allaah had instructed him, not racing or hurrying; rather, his was "a recitation clearly- distinguishing each letter"1, so much so that "he would recite a soorah in such slow rhythmic tones that it would be longer than would seem possible."2

He also used to say: It will be said to the reciter of the Qur'aan (on the Day of Judgment), 'Recite and ascend; recite slowly and rhythmically as you used to do in the previous world; your place will be at the last aayah you recite.3

He "used to prolong his recitation (at a letter which can be prolonged), such as at bismil-laah, at ar-rahmaan, and at ar- raheem"4, and at "nadeed" (Qaaf 50:10)5 & their like.

He used to stop at the end of an aayah, as has already been explained.6

Sometimes "he would recite in an attractive vibrating tone7, as he did on the Day of the Conquest of Makkah, when, while on his she-camel, he recited soorah al-Fath (48:29) [very softly]8, and 'Abdullaah ibn Mughaffal narrated this attractive tone thus : aaa."9

He used to command making one's voice beautiful when reciting the Qur'aan, saying

Beautify the Qur'aan with your voices [for a fine voice increases the Qur'aan in beauty]10 and

Truly, the one who has one of the finest voices among the people for reciting the Qur'aan is the one whom you think fears Allaah when you hear him recite.11

He also used to command recitation of the Qur'aan in a pleasant tone, saying: Study the Book of Allaah; recite it repeatedly; acquire (memorise) it; and recite it in a melodious tone, for by Him in whose Hand is my soul, it runs away quicker than camels from their tying ropes.12

He also used to say, He who does not recite the Qur'aan in a pleasant tone is not of us13 and

Allaah does not listen to anything as he listens (in some versions: as he is listening) to a prophet [with a nice voice, and in one version: with a nice melody] who recites the Qur'aan in a pleasant tone14 [loudly].15

He said to Abu Moosaa al-Ash'ari (radi Allaahu 'anhu),

Had you seen me while I was listening to your recitation yesterday! You have surely been given one of the musical wind- instruments16 of the family of Daawood! [So Abu Moosaa said: "Had I known you were there, I would have made my voice more pleasant and emotional for you]."17



Correcting the Imaam

He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) set the example of correcting the imaam when his recitation becomes mixed up, when once "he prayed, reciting loudly, and his recitation became mixed up, so when he finished, he said to Ubayy: Did you pray with us? He replied, 'Yes.' He said, So what prevented you [from correcting me]?"18



Seeking Refuge & Spitting Lightly during Prayer in order to Repel Temptation

'Uthmaan ibn Abi l-'Aas (radi Allaahu 'anhu) said to him, "O Messenger of Allaah! The devil comes between me and my prayer and confuses me in my recitation!" So the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, That is a devil called Khinzab, so when you detect him, seek refuge with Allaah from him, and spit lightly19 on your left three times. He said, "So when I did that, Allaah caused him to go away from me."20

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