Description of the Prayer According to Hanbali Fiqh

Man Siting in Salah


  • Stand for the prayer and make intention (uttering the intention lightly is recommended but not a condition as intention lies in the heart)
  • It should be specific, for example, “I am praying Asr prayer as an individual/follower/imam”.

First Standing

  • For the Fardh prayer, it is a pillar to stand and not standing without an excuse invalidates the prayer.
  • 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. Same for women.
  • Throughout the whole prayer one should look at the place of prostration except during tashahhud when one should look at the index finger with which he/she is pointing.
  • 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. The latter is not considered part of al-Fatiha, thus, both statements are recommended and not obligatory.
  • Then one recites al-Fatihah which is mandatory. It has 11 Tashdeeds in it, therefore, not reciting the Tashdeeds means you are skipping letters and not fulfilling the obligation of reciting al-Fatihah. Reciting this is a pillar and skipping it invalidates the prayer.
  • After completing al-Fatihah one pauses slightly and then says “Amin”. The pause is there to assure that it is not considered part of al-Fatihah. 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 is not valid. Women do not say anything unless there are no men around.
  • It is recommended that one recites aloud during Fajr, first two units of Maghrib and ‘Isha, Friday prayer, the ‘Eid prayer, the Eclipse prayer, and during the prayer for seeking rain. It is disliked for the follower to recite behind the imam during these prayers because the follower is ordered to listen only during the loud prayers. The one praying individually has a choice and can do the loud prayers either aloud or silently and the same applies to the one who joins a loud prayer late and is making up the rest of the prayer.
  • After al-Fatihah, 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. Takbir to transfer to the next position in Hanbali fiqh are said during the movement and not before or after.
  • Whilst in Ruku’ one should fix their hands on the knees whist keeping the fingers apart. One should also try and keep their back straight.
  • In Ruku’ it is a Wajib (obligatory) 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.
  • t 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.

Second Standing

  • After that one says “Sami’a-llahu Liman Hamidah”, rises from Ruku’, and raises their hands (up to shoulders), all at the same time. The one praying behind an imam does not say “Sami’a-llahu Liman Hamidah”.
  • If you are praying behind the Imam then you say “Rabbana Walaka-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 do not say anything after “Rabbana Walaka-l Hamd”.
  • One who is praying individually or leading as an imam is recommended to say “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” after “Rabbana Walaka-l Hamd”.
  • One who has stood up from Ruku’ they have the choice to either place their hands back to where they were (below the navel) or to hang the hands by their sides.

First Prostration

  • 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.
  • Seven parts are required to touch the ground while in this position: forehead, two hands, two knees, two feet. The nose is considered part of the forehead but is only recommended and not required to touch the ground.
  • The arms should be away from the flanks
  • The abdomen should be away from the thighs
  • The knees should not be touching
  • 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.
  • It is disliked to cover the forehead or hands while in this position unless one has an excuse.

Sitting Between the Two Prostrations

  • After that one says “Allahu Akbar” as soon as they begin to move their head up from prostration. They sit in the Iftirash position and say “Rabbhigh-fir Li” three times; to say it once is a must.
  • One should put his hands on one’s thighs and not the knees. One should keep one’s fingers together and not separate them.

Second Prostration

  • Then one says “Allahu Akbar” again as they begin to move down for the second prostration.
  • Do the same as discussed under the first prostration.

Second Rak’ah

  • 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….).

First Tashahhud

  • One sits for al-Tashahhud in the Ifitrash position.
  • One should place the right hand on the right thigh and the left hand on the left thigh and not the knees.
  • 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 one 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 only. Also, one does not raise his hands after the first Tashahhud in the third rak’ah.

Second Tashahhud

  • Then one sits down for the second Tashahhud in the Tawarruk position 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 seeking refuge from four things:

    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 in Arabic that are found in the Qur’an, in the Sunnah, or from the Salaf or any du’a in Arabic related to the afterlife even if the wordings don’t match with the ones from the Qur’an, Sunnah, and Salaf. However, 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. This is because it is considered unnecessary speech which is prohibited during prayer.


  • Finally, he says “Assalamu ‘Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah” and turns to the right and then says the same whilst turning to the left. Saying it twice is required.
  • It does not suffice if one says “Salamun ‘Alaykum Warahmatullah (سلام عليكم و رحمة الله)” without the alif and laam in the beginning. It must be said in the form “As-Salamun ‘Alaykum Warahmatullah (السلام عليكم و رحمة الله)”.
  • It does not suffice if one says, “Assalamu ‘Alaykum” only.
  • It is preferred that one does not make the “Assalamu ‘Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah” too long by stretching it out.
  • If praying behind an imam, then the follower must wait until the imam finishes boths salams before giving one’s own salams to end the prayer or getting up to make up missed portion of the prayer.
  • Moving the head to the right and left are recommended and not required.

The prayer of the man is like that of the woman except in two cases:

  • She should try and gather herself together by keeping her arms by her sides during prostration.
  • During al-Tashahhud she may sit cross-legged or in the Tawarruk position but in her case she spreads legs to the right instead of one (and the latter is better).

Source: The Hanbali Madhhab Facebook page plus my own notes.

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