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Reciting the Fatiha in the prayer

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Question:  Salam, I know you have to recite a surah after Fatiha in salah. But is it wajib, or does missing it validate the prayer? And is the minimum one verse with two words or 3 short verses (or long equivalent)?

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Assalam’aleykum, I pray this finds you in the best of states.

Jazakum Allah khayr for your question!

It is necessary (wajib) to recite the Fatiha fully in the prayer. [ Ibn Abidin; Radd al-Muhtar]

Missing it out of forgetfulness does not invalidate the prayer but requires the prostrations of forgetfulness at the end of the prayer. [ Dur al-Mukhtar]

The minimum amount to be recited in the prayer so that it is valid is any amount of the Qur’an that is called “Qur’an” while not resembling the volition to address someone. Thus even less than a verse can be enough to pray a valid prayer if it can be called “Qur’an” and cannot be understood as something one could say to someone else.  [ Ibn Abidin; Radd al-Muhtar]

A more cautionary and easier-to-understand position in the Hanafi school is that at least one full verse should be recited. [ Ibn Abidin; Radd al-Muhtar]

Word of Caution

Please remember that the necessary (wajib) amount is the Fatiha and the extent of three short verses, based on Prophetic practice and instruction. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

This recitation is necessary for the first two rakats of the obligatory prayer and in every rakat of non-obligatory prayers (such as sunna and voluntary prayers).  It is thus sinful to leave it and could entail punishment in the Hellfire.

And Allah knows best.

May  Allah Most High grant you the best of this world and the next. Please keep us in your du’as!

[Ustadh] Sufyan Qufi

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.