Lesson 32: Niyyah, Takbir and Qiyam

1. Niyyah

The person starting prayer must have, just before starting, a clear 'intention' that the specific prayer is ‘qurbatan ilal-Laah', i.e. in obedience to Allah. Thus three things are wajib in niyyah:-
(a) The prayer must be specified;
(b) It must be for the sake of God only, not for any other motive;
(c) That intention must remain unaltered up to the end.
Note: It is not necessary to say these things in words. The intention and attention of mind is enough.

2. Takbiratul-Ihram

The phrase 'Allahu Akbar' is called takbir. 'Ihram' means 'imposition of limits'. Thus the 'takbir' just after niyyah is called 'Takbiratul-Ihram', because it limits the man in his actions; now he cannot do any work except prayer. There are 4 conditions in it:
(a) It must be in the approved form, i.e. 'Allahu Akbar' without any addition or change and without joining it with other wordings.
(b) It must be in correct Arabic.
(c) It must be said while standing (details will come afterwards).
(d) Body must be in 'tama’ninat' (not moving, but still).
(e) Muwalaat: The letters and words should be recited one after another without gap.

3. Qiyam (standing)

It is 'rukn’ while reciting 'Takbiratul-Ihram' and before going to 'ruku': and is wajib (but not rukn) at the time of reciting Surahs or Tasbihat Arba’ah. In qiyam, it is wajib that:
(a) The musalli (person praying) should stand erect and facing qibla;
(b) He should be motionless (tama’ninat).
(c) Also he should not lean against anything unless he is unable to stand without support.

Substitutes of Qiyam

1. If a man cannot stand without support he should or may stand with support;
2. If he cannot stand, even with support, he should sit without support;
3. If he cannot sit without support, he may sit with support,
4. If he cannot sit even with support, he must lie on his right side, facing qibla;
5. If it is not possible, he must lie on his left side facing qibla:
6. If even that is not possible, he should lie down on his back, his feet towards the qibla.
In the last three alternatives, he should bow down for ruku and sajdah; the bowing for sajdah should be more than that for the ruku. If he cannot bow down, he should perform ruku and sajdah with his eyelids.
If he can stand for a part of the prayer, he should stand up to that time, and then should sit down.
This rule applies to the alternatives also.

Sunnat (mustahab) differences between the qiyam of a man and of a woman

Man stands with his feet apart from 4 to 8 inches; woman stands with her feet close to each other.
Man stretches his hands downwards resting on thighs; woman keeps her hands on her breasts.
Man and woman both should keep their eyes (during qiyam) on the place of sajdah (muhr).


4. Ruku’ (bowing): It is wajib in each rak’at once; except Salat al-Ayaat which has 5 rukus in each rak’at.
There are 5 wajibs in ruku’:-
(a) To bend so low that the palms rest on the knees;
(b) To recite 'dhikr' of ruku’ after bending up to the approved position. Dhikr of Ruku’:
'Subhanallah' (Glory be to Allah) 3 times, or 'Subhana Rabbiyal ‘Azeemi wa bi hamdih'
(Glory and Praise be to my Lord Cherisher, the Great) once.
(c) While reciting the dhikr, one should remain motionless as far as possible;
(d) Standing again after ruku’, raising the head first;
(e) 'Tama’ninat' in the qiyam after ruku’.
These things are sunnat in ruku’;-
(a) Saying takbir before kneeling down;
(b) Keeping the eyes fixed between the feet during ruku’;
(c) Reciting dhikr 3, or 5, or 7 or more times;
(d) Reciting salawat after dhikr;
(e) Reciting 'Sami’allahu liman hamidah' after standing erect after ruku’.

Sunnat (mustahab) differences between ruku’ of a man and of a woman:

(a) A man must keep his palms on his knees; a woman on her thighs above the knees;
(b) A man should keep his fingers stretched on his knees; a woman should keep them joined together;
(c) A man should keep his arms and elbows away from the body, a woman should keep them joined to her body;
(d) A man should keep the knees stretched backwards, a woman should keep them not so tight;
(e) A man should keep his back in such a horizontal level that even if a drop of water is dropped on the back it does not move down; a woman should keep her back in an arch fashion.