Integrals and Components of Prayer

Answered by Sidi Moustafa Elqabbany

  Please will you clarify the link between stressed sunnahs, like the dua at fajr, and the prostration of forgetfulness.  If I am making up missed prayers and I do not make the fajr dua, must I make the prostration?  I’m still finding it a bit difficult to fully understand what the fard of salah are, when it seems like the stressed sunnahs must be done as well.

Also, could one do make up prayers sitting if physical and mental tiredness is a reason why these prayers are not being made up more quickly?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate.  All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all things.  May Allah bless and grant peace to our Master Muhammad, his family, and companions.

The integrals of prayer are those things that have to be done (or said) in order for the prayer to be valid.  Omitting any of the integrals of prayer (whether intentionally, absentmindedly, or out of ignorance) renders the prayer invalid.  Such a prayer cannot be repaired by the forgetfulness prostration and must be repeated.  An integral can be referred to as a rukn (pl. arkan) or as a fard (pl. fara’id or furood).  [Reliance, f11.2] 

The integrals of prayer can be found in “The Bare Essentials” (see the “Links” section at the end of this article) and in Reliance of the Traveller, f9.14. 

The components of prayer are stressed optional acts.  Even if one were to omit all of them intentionally, one’s prayer would be valid and one wouldn’t have fallen into sin.  However, omitting even part of a component (whether intentionally, absentmindedly, or out of ignorance) renders the prayer deficient.  This deficiency can be repaired with a pair of forgetfulness prostrations at the end of the prayer.  If one omits the forgetfulness prostrations (whether intentionally, absentmindedly, or out of ignorance) one’s prayer is still valid and one is still free from sin.  However, one has offered a deficient prayer to His Lord, Mighty and Majestic.  A component can be referred to as a ba`d (pl. ab`ad) or a sunnah (pl. sunan).  When components are referred to as sunan, other, less stressed sunnah acts are commonly referred to hay’atReliance of the Traveller refers to components as “main sunnas”.  [Reliance, f11.4] 

There are seven components of prayer, namely:

  1. the first tashahhud of a prayer with more than one tashahhud (as opposed to the last tashahhud, which is an integral),
  2. sitting for the first tashahhud
  3. the prayer for the Prophet (as-salah `ala-n-nabiyy), may Allah bless him and grant him peace, after the first tashahhud (as opposed to the same act after the last tashahhud, which is an integral)
  4. the prayer for the family of the Prophet (as-salah `ala alihi), may Allah bless him and grant him peace, after the last tashahhud
  5. the standing supplication (qunoot) in the fajr prayer (throughout the year) and in the witr prayer (during the second half of Ramadan),
  6. standing during the standing supplication, and
  7. the prayer and salutation (as-salah wa-s-salam) upon the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), his family, and companions after the standing supplication.

[Safinat-un-Naja, p. 31] 

Reliance of the Traveller, f9.15 doesn’t mention the last of the above components, perhaps because the author considers it a part of the fifth component.  

The integrals and components of make-up (qada) prayers are the same as those of current performances.  So if one skips a component of a make-up prayer, one should perform the prostrations of forgetfulness; otherwise, one’s prayer will be deficient.

Although the official position of the Shafi’i school is very strict about making up missed prayers as fast as one possibly can, later reliable scholars (such as Imam Abdullah Al-Haddad) have indicated that one should do what one can reasonably maintain.  So if you’re praying so many make-ups that you’re wearing yourself out, cut down to a more reasonable pace and do them well.  (See the “Links” section for a reference to an entire article on this matter.)