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A brief guide on how to pray according to the Hanbali Madhab – (Hanbali Fiqh)

Answered as per Hanbali Fiqh by TheHanbaliMadhhab.com

— Stand for the prayer and make intention (uttering the intention is Mustahabb but not a condition as intention lies in the heart).

— Say “Allahu Akbar” whilst raising your hands and leveling the tip of the fingers with the shoulders and then clasp the left hand with the right, over the wrist joint, and the place them just under the navel.

— Throughout the whole prayer one should look at the place of prostration (even when one is sitting for al-Tashahhud as per the relied-upon opinion)

— Then one says, “Subhanaka-llahumma Wa Bihamdika Wa Tabarakasmuka Wa Ta’ala Jadduka Wa Laa Ilaaha Ghairuk”, silently.

— Then, “A’uthubillah Min-ash Shaitani-r Rajim” and “Bismillahi-r Rahmani-r Rahim”; silently.

— Then one recites al-Fatihah. It is recommended that one recites it slowly, pausing at end of every verse instead of joining them together. Al-Fatihah has 11 Tashdeeds in it and overemphasizing them is disliked. Likewise, prolonging (madd) the sound of a vowel too much is disliked.

— After completing al-Fatihah one pauses slightly and then says “Amin”. In a loud prayer, the Imam and those who are praying behind him say it loudly, together. If one says it whilst emphasizing the “Meem”, i.e – “Aammmin”, it isn’t valid.

[It is recommended that one recites aloud during Fajr, first two units of Maghrib and ‘Isha, the ‘Eid prayer, the Eclipse prayer, and during the prayer for seeking rain]
[We know that in a silent prayer it is recommended that the one who is praying behind recites al-Fatihah and also recites a Surah in the first two units of Maghrib and Isha, but it is disliked that he recites them loudly]

— Then one recites a Surah from the Qur’an.

[It is recommended that for Fajr one chooses any starting from Surah Qaf to al-Mursalat; for Maghrib any Surah starting from al-Duha to al-Nas; for the rest, any Surah starting from al-Naba to al-Layl]

— After that one says the Takbir and raises their hands (up to their shoulders) and goes to Ruku’, all at the same time.

[Note: A lot of people might not be used to this, but you get used to it very quick. Also, don’t worry too much whilst attempting this. Do it calmly and don’t rush].

Whilst in Ruku’ one should fix their hands on the knees whist keeping the fingers apart. One should also try and keep their backs straight.

In Ruku’ it is a Wajib to say “Subhana Rabbiya-l ‘Adhim” at least once. It is recommended that one says it three times. The Imam may go up to ten times. The one praying behind may also go up to ten if it easy for him to do so (i.e. – if the Imam hasn’t yet stood from Ruku’. But if the Imam has already stood up then it is impermissible for that person to remain in Ruku’ instead of following the Imam).

It is also preferred that one does not say anything more than “Subhana Rabbiya-l ‘Adhim”. However, if they do add on something from that which has been reported then no problem.

— After that one says “Sami’a-llahu Liman Hamidah”, rises from Ruku’, and raises their hands (up to shoulders), all at the same time. [Again, many may not be used to this but you get used to it]
[Note: If you are praying behind the Imam then you say “Rabbana Laka-l Hamd” whilst rising from Ruku’ and not after you’ve already stood up. This means that when you’ve fully stood up from Ruku’ behind an Imam you don’t say anything]

— After one has stood up from Ruku’ (and they are not praying behind the Imam but they are either praying on their own or they are leading) they should say

رَبَّنَا لَكَ الْحَمْدُ مِلْءَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمِلْءَ الأَرْضِ وَمِلْءَ مَا شِئْتَ مِنْ شَيْءٍ بَعْد

“Rabbana Laka-l Hamd Mil’a-s Sama’i Wa Mil’a-l Ardhi Wa Mil’a Ma Shi’ta Min Shay’in Ba’d”

— Also, after one has stood up from Ruku’ they have the choice to either place their hands back to where it was (below the navel) or to hang the hands by their sides.

— Then he says “Allahu Akbar” as soon as he begins to go down for prostration. One should not say “Allahu Akbar” and then begin to prostrate nor should they say it after they’ve already gone down. They should say it as soon as they begin the movement.

The knee should touch the ground first, then the hands, then the forehead, and then the nose.

— Whilst in the state of prostration the following are recommended:

a) The arms should be away from the flanks
b) The abdomen should be away from the thighs
c) The knees should not be touching
d) The feet should be also separate and not touching and should be rested on the toes whilst the toes are bent towards the Qiblah.

It is Wajib to say “Subhana Rabbiya-l A’la” at lease once and but is preferred that one says it three times.

— After that one says “Allahu Akbar” as soon as they begin to move their head up from prostration. They sit in the Iftirash position (check comments section) and say “Rabbhigh-fir Li” three times; to say it once is a must.

— Then one says “Allahu Akbar” again as they begin to move down for the second prostration.

— Then they say “Allahu Akbar” again as they begin to stand up from the prostration. Whilst getting up from the second prostration one should use the hands to rest their weight on the knees and not the ground. If resting the weight on the knees is difficult for them for some reason then they should use the ground.

— They should repeat the second unit (rak’ah) exactly as the first with the exception of the following:

a) They do not repeat the Niyyah
b) They do not repeat the Takbiratu-l Ihram (the “Allahu Akbar” whilst initiating the prayer)
c) They do not repeat the “Istiftaah” (Subhanaka-llauhmma…)
d) They do not repeat the “Ta’awwudh” (A’udhubillahi….). However, if they didn’t say the “Ta’awwudh” in the first Rak’ah, they may do it in the second.

— One then sits for al-Tashahhud in the Ifitrash position (check comments section). The following actions are recommended:

a) Placing right hand on the right thigh and the left hand on the left thigh.
b) With regards to the right hand, one should fold the little finger and the ring finder and make a circle with the middle finger and the thumb. He should raise his index finger every time he says “Allah” or “Allahumma”.

This is the Tashahhud one recites according to the Madhab and it is the Tashahhud of Ibn Mas’ud (there are five different wordings for al-Tashahhud and they are all valid):

التَّحِيَّاتُ لِلَّهِ وَالصَّلَوَاتُ وَالطَّيِّبَاتُ، السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكَ أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ وَرَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ، السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَى عِبَادِ اللَّهِ الصَّالِحِينَ، أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ

— After this he gets up whilst saying “Allahu Akbar” if it is Maghrib or if prayer made up of four Rak’ahs and prays the rest in the same manner but restricting the recitation to al-Fatihah.

— Then he sits down for the second Tashahhud in the Tawarruk position (see comments section) and recites “al-Tahiyyatu…” again. Then he recites:

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ وَبَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ

[Note: There are other wordings but this is the one that is agreed upon]

— Then it is recommended that he makes this du’a:

أعُوْذُ بِاللهِ مِنْ عَذَاْبِ جَهَنَّم وَمِنْ عَذَاْبِ الْقَبَر وَمِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَحْيَا وَالْمَمَاْت وَمِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَسِيْحِ الدَّجَّاْل

— After this one he is allowed to make du’as that are found in the Qur’an, in the Sunnah, or from the Salaf or any du’a related to the Akhirah even if the wordings don’t match with the ones from the Qur’an, Sunnah, and Salaf.

One cannot make du’a seeking the pleasures of this world, e.g. – asking for a beautiful wife or for a new job or such and such car etc; doing so will nullify the whole prayer; this is regardless if you do it here (before the Taslim) or in prostration.

— Finally, he says “Assalamu ‘Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah” and turns to the right and then says the same whilst turning to the left.

A few things to note here:

a) It does not suffice if one says “Salamun ‘Alaykum Warahmatullah”
b) It does not suffice if one says, “Assalamu ‘Alaykum” only.
c) It is preferred that one turns more whilst turning left compared to the right.
d) It is preferred that one does not make the “Assalamu ‘Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah” too long.

— The prayer of the man is like that of the woman except that she should try and gather herself together by keeping her arms by her sides during prostration etc. During al-Tashahhud she may sit cross-legged or in the Tawarruk postion but in her case she spreads legs to the right instead of one (and the latter is better).

This answer was collected from The Hanbali Madhhab website. The answers to the questions are given by Imam Zahed Fattah in accordance to the Hanbali School of Jurisprudence.

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