Brief Explanation of the Words of Salah

The Takbeer

The takbeer is repeated throughout the prayer. The prayer is started by it and positions are changed by it.

الله أكبر
Allah is Greater

Allah is greater and higher than everything else. 

Istiftaah (The Opening)

There are different supplications reported in the hadith literature but the following one is the most common, therefore, I will stick to it alone.

سبحانك اللهم وبحمدك، وتبارك اسمك، وتعالى جدك، ولا إله غيرك
How perfect You are O Allah, and with You is all praise. Blessed be Your name, and lofty is Your position and none has the right to be worshiped except You

سبحانك اللهم – How perfect You are O Allah

How sacred/pure You are O Allah and free from every deficiency and defect.

وبحمدك – And with You is all praise

All praise and thanks belong to You alone because You are the originator of everything.

وتبارك اسمك – Blessed be Your name

Glorified and respectable is Your name and abundantly blessed.

وتعالى جدك – Lofty is Your position

Your greatness and power are elevated and ascended.

ولا إله غيرك – None has the right to be worshiped except You

There is no deity worthy of worship other than You.

Ta’awwuz (Seeking Refuge)

Allah has legislated for every reciter of the Qur’an to seek refuge with Him from the expelled Shaytan (Satan). He said, “So when you recite the Qur’an, [first] seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the expelled [from His mercy]” [Qur’an 16:98]. That is because the Qur’an is a guidance for mankind and a cure for what is in the hearts. Shaytan is a means to evils and misguidance, therefore, Allah commanded every reciter of the Qur’an to seek protection in Him from the expelled Shaytan, his whispers, and his party. Since the worshiper is about to start reciting the Qur’an, it is befitting that he recite the ta’wwuz before moving forward.

Here is the wording of the ta’wwuz:

أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم
I seek refuge in Allah from the expelled Shaytan

أعوذ بالله – I seek refuge in Allah

I seek protection/recourse in Allah alone.

من الشيطان – from the Shaytan (Satan)

From every rebellious and arrogant being from among the jinn and mankind that diverts me from obeying my Lord and reciting His book.

الرجيم – The expelled

The one who is expelled or ousted from every good. It is also often translated as ‘cursed’.

Basmala and Al-Fatiha

You can read a brief explanation of these two in a separate post by clicking here.

Ruku’ (The Bowing)

سبحان ربي العظيم
How perfect is my Lord, the Most Supreme

سبحان ربي – How perfect is my Lord

My Lord, who created me and sustains me, is sacred/pure and free from all deficiencies and defects.

العظيم – The Most Supreme

One who is the greatest in power, loftiness, sanctity, and everything else.

Rising From Ruku’

سمع الله لمن حمده ربنا ولك الحمد حمدًا كثيرًا طيِّبًا مباركًا فيه
Allah listens to the one who praises Him. Our Lord! All praise is due only to You, praise which is abundant, excellent and blessed

سمع الله لمن حمده – Allah listens to the one who praises Him

O Allah! Hear me praise You. Hear it, accept it, and answer it.

ربنا ولك الحمد – Our Lord! All praise is due only to You

Our Lord! We have praised You so accept it from us.

حمدًا كثيرًا – Abundant praise

There is no limit or restriction to Your praise.

طيِّبًا – Excellent

Your praise is free from anything that would decrease its perfection.

مباركًا فيه – Blessed

O’ Allah! Put in this praise blessing by accepting it, being pleased with it, and making it have a good impact for my family, myself, and my wealth.

Sujood (The Prostration)

سبحان ربي الأعلى
How perfect is my Lord, the Most High

Declaring the above words in the state of prostration, by placing the face and forehead on to the ground, is an announcement of complete submission to Allah. Also, it summons Allah’s transcendence from all lowly things. It also shows that Allah is above His creation because He is ‘Most High’.

Tashahhud

The tashahhud can be divided into three parts.

First Part

التحيات لله والصلوات والطيبات، السلام عليك أيها النبي ورحمة الله وبركاته، السلام علينا وعلى عباد الله الصالحين، أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله، وأشهد أن محمدًا عبده ورسوله
All compliments, prayers, and good words are due to Allah. Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. Peace be on us and on the righteous servants of Allah. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His messenger

التحيات لله – All compliments are due to Allah

Everything that indicates the glorification, transcendence, and greatness of Allah belong to Him alone. For example, bowing and prostrating are indications of Allah’s greatness and belong to Him alone. They cannot be performed for anyone other than Him.

والصلوات – Prayers

All supplications are made to Allah alone. Some have also said that it means the five daily prayers.

والطيبات – Good words

Good words that glorify, sanctify, and point to the greatness of Allah because He is deserving of it. For example, saying tasbeeh, takbeer, tahleel, etc.

السلام عليك أيها النبي ورحمة الله وبركاته – Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings

This is a supplication for peace, mercy, and blessings to be sent on the Prophet (pbuh). It is a request to bestow additional mercy and blessings to that which he has already received.

السلام علينا وعلى عباد الله الصالحين – Peace be on us and on the righteous servants of Allah

Here we are supplicating for Allah’s protection from all evil and that He keep us and all righteous servants of His on Islam until death. Some have also explained that here you are sending peace upon yourself and upon every righteous servant of Allah, whether that servant be on earth or in the heavens.

أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله – I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah

You bear with certainty that no one in the heavens or the earth deserves to be worshiped except Allah Almighty.

وأشهد أن محمدًا عبده ورسوله – And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His messenger

You bear with certainty that Muhammad (pbuh) is Allah’s messenger and worshiper. He was the best of worshipers to walk the face of the earth, a true servant of Allah. You are also bearing witness that he has delivered the message that was given to him by Allah.

Second Part

This part is also known as the durood or salawat. It is a special supplication which requests prayers and blessings upon the prophet of Islam (pbuh) and his family.

اللهم صل على محمد وعلى آل محمد، كما صليت على إبراهيم، وعلى آل إبراهيم إنك حميد مجيد، اللهم بارك على محمد وعلى آل محمد، كما باركت على إبراهيم، وعلى آل إبراهيم، إنك حميد مجيد
O Allah, send prayers upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad, as You sent prayers upon Ibraheem and the family of Ibraheem, You are indeed worthy of praise, full of glory. O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You blessed Ibraheem and the family of Ibraheem, You are indeed worthy of praise, full of glory

اللهم صل على محمد – O Allah, send prayers upon Muhammad

O Allah, we ask you for every good and mercy for your messenger Muhammad (pbuh).

وعلى آل محمد – And upon the family of Muhammad

This includes his own progeny, wives, the progeny of Hashim and Al-Muttalib. 

كما صليت على إبراهيم، وعلى آل إبراهيم – As You sent prayers upon Ibraheem and the family of Ibraheem

In the same way You granted Ibraheem and his family goodness and mercy.

اللهم بارك على محمد – O Allah, bless Muhammad

An increase in the goodness of this life and the next.

إنك حميد – You are indeed worthy of praise

You are indeed deserving of all praise and free of any imperfections.

مجيد – Full of glory

For You is all glory, honor, and complete perfection.

Third Part

Here the worshiper can make general supplications but those mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah are preferred. The most widely read is the following:

اللهم إني أعوذ بك من عذاب جهنم ومن عذاب القبر ومن فتنة المحيا والممات ومن فتنة المسيح الدجال
O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the torment of Hell, and I seek refuge in You from the torment of the grave, and I seek refuge in You from the trials of life and death, and I seek refuge in You from the tribulation of the Dajjal

فتنة المحيا – Trials of life

Anything that keeps the person away from remembering Allah, worshiping Him, and distracts him from the afterlife.

فتنة الممات – Trials of death

The questioning in the grave so the person here is asking Allah to keep him firm during it.

Other Useful Resources on Salah

The Meaning of the Tashahhud

Tips to Improve Concentration in Salah

What Do We Say in Our Salah?

Practical Steps to Develop Concentration (Kushoo’) in Salah

Significance in the Different Postures of Salah


Main Source: Alukah.net

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Categories: Tazkiyyah (Spiritual Development), Translations

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