After beginning the salah the Messenger of Allah would pause before starting to read Al-Fatiha. Abu Hurraira asked him about this pause. Heanswered, “I say: Oh Allah, put a distance between me and my mistakes as big as the distance between the East and the West. Oh Allah, clean me of my mistakes as white clothing is completely cleaned from dirt. Oh Allah, wash my mistakes away with pure cool water.”
Informal prayers (dua) can be made in any language. While reading the Quran and the minimum ritual requirements of formal prayers (Salah) must be in Arabic, there are many points in Salah where it is encouraged to make dua. This article presents a simple translation of prophetic dua for various points in Salah. Studying these prayers and incorporating some of them into the Salah will make the Salah more meaningful and engaging, particularly for those who convert, youth, and others for whom English is their primary language. They can also be used for inspiration to make dua following the example of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
The Salah is begun with raising the hands and recognizing the greatness of Allah saying, “Allah is greater than everything.” After beginning the salah the Messenger of Allah would pause before starting to read Al-Fatiha. Abu Hurraira asked him about this pause. Heanswered, “I say: Oh Allah, put a distance between me and my mistakes as big as the distance between the East and the West. Oh Allah, clean me of my mistakes as white clothing is completely cleaned from dirt. Oh Allah, wash my mistakes away with pure cool water.”
At other times the Messenger of Allah would say as he started his salah, “I have turnedmyself to face the One Who split apart the heavens from the earth. I do so standing for truth, and in a state of submission, and I am not one of those who worship and call upon others with Allah. My salah, my worship, my life, and my death are all for Allah, who has no partner, the Lord of Creation. This is what I was commanded to do, and I am one of those who submit to Allah as a Muslim. Oh Allah, You are the true King. There is no god deserving of worship except You. You are my Lord and I am Your property. I have been unjust to my soul, and I admit my sins, so forgive me.
No one can forgive my sins except You. Guide me to achieve the best character.
No one can guide me to it except You. Help me get rid of faults in my character. No one can help me get rid of my bad character traitsexcept You. I am committed to Your obedience and to following Your religion. All good is in Your hands, and doing good is the only way to get closer to you. I am with You, and Idepend on You. A person is blessed with worshiping You, and You are high above all imperfections. I seek Your forgiveness, and I turn back to You in repentance.”
It is also related that he would sometimes say, “Oh Allah, I reject any imperfection attributed to You, and by praising You for Your greatness, I affirm this. Your name is blessed, Your greatness is superior to all, and there is no god deserving of worship except You.”
Note: Omar Ibn Al-Khataab used to raise his voice with his opening dua to teach those praying behind him.
Prayers in the Ruku Position:
The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, forbade reading Quran in ruku and sujood.Both of these places are places for making dua (prayers). The minimum to complete the ruku is to say “subhana rubbi Al’Atheem” three times, (I reject all imperfections attributed to myLord the Most Great). However, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, would often spend almost as long in ruku and sujood as he did standing and reading Quran.
He would also sometimes pray in ruku:
“Oh Allah, to You I bow in ruku, and in You I have put my faith and trust, and to You I submit completely. My hearing, sight, mind, and the core of my body are at peace in submitting to You.”
Ibn Malik said, “I stood with the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, in prayer. Herecited surat Al-Baqarah. After reading every verse relating to Allah’s mercy he would pauseand make a prayer asking for mercy. After reading every verse relating to Allah’s punishment he would pause and make a prayer asking for protection from Allah’s punishment. Then he made ruku for about as long as he had just been standing. He repeated in ruku, “I reject all imperfections attributed to Allah. Allah has absolute power, absolutecontrol, absolute authority, and total greatness.”
In his ruku and sujood he would sometimes pray:
“I reject all imperfections attributed to You, Oh my God, and Lord, and by praising Yourgreatness, I affirm this. Oh Allah forgive me.”In his ruku and sujood, he would say: “I worship You who are free from all imperfections, holy and pure, the Lord of the angels and the holy spirit (angel Gabriel).”
Standing up from Ruku:
When standing up from ruku we say “Sami Allahu Liman Hamida” which means “Allah hears and answers the prayers of those who praise Him.” The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, would then say various dua at this point with the theme of praising God. For example:“Oh Allah, our Lord, all praise belongs to You, praise that fills the heavens and the earth andfills whatever You like. You are the most deserving of admiration and honor. The most truthful thing a slave said, and we are all your slaves (meaning we are all God’s property), is: Oh Allah, no one can prevent someone from receiving something that you gave them, and no one can give something to someone that You have prevented them from having. A person with money, power, and greatness in this world has nothing to benefit them against Your absolute power.”
Once the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was leading the Muslims in congregation.When he raised himself from ruku he said, “Allah hears and answers the dua of those who praise him.” A man in the congregation said, “Oh our Lord, all praise belongs to You, a lot of praise that is good, blessed, and permanent; Praise as our Lord loves and accepts to be praised.” At the end of the salah, the Messenger of Allah said, “Who said that?” The man said, “I did.” The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “I saw about thirty threeangels racing to write down what you said.” (Tirmithi)This story shows that prayers are to be customized so they are yours, and they come from your heart. Otherwise, the Messenger of Allah would have told the man to ask permission before saying a different prayer.
Note: Remember that praise is different from thanks. You thank a person for what they do for you, and you praise a person by recognizing their good qualities whether you get anything from them or not. When you stand up in prayer praising Allah, your focus is onappreciating the greatness of Allah’s attributes whether or not they directly benefit you. For example, when you praise Allah for His great mercy, you can be thinking of a bird and how the bird finds food every day by Allah’s mercy.
Prayers in Sujood Position:
The Messenger of Allah stayed in sujood about as long as his ruku repeating “subhana rabialalah.” I reject all imperfections attributed to my Lord the Most High.” The point is to humble yourself into recognizing how high above you your creator is. As a result, you are closest to Allah when you are in sujood so it is a good opportunity for making your personal prayers and requests to God.
He would also sometimes pray:
“Oh Allah, to You I have made sujood. In You I believe and have put my faith. To You I have submitted. I submit myself to the one who created me, gave me form, and gave me hearing and sight. Allah’s name is a blessing in everything, and Allah is the best creator.”“Oh Allah, forgive all my mistake, the small ones, the big ones, from the beginning to theend, the ones made in the open and the ones made in secret.”
“Oh Allah, I seek protection with Your mercy from Your anger, and with Your forgivenessfrom Your punishment. I seek protection with You, Oh Allah, from You holding back Yourguidance from me. Forgive me my deficiency that I cannot praise You as You deserve to be praised, and as You praised Yourself.”
Sitting between two Sujood:
It is related in Sahih Bukhari that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, would spendabout the same amount of time in sujood, ruku and sitting between the two sujoods. While he was sitting he would say: “Oh Allah, forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me, and bless me.”Sometimes he would just repeat “Oh Allah, forgive me”, and sometimes he would add “Oh Allah, fix my deficiencies, give me good health, and raise me up to higher levels of faith.”
Concluding the Salah:
There are 4 important elements to concluding the salah:
1- The tashahud
2- Prayer for the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him
3- Dua before concluding
4- The Conclusion
The Tashahud (testimony):
There are several variations of the tashahud that are authentically attributed to the Messengerof Allah, peace be upon him. All of these variations are very similar in meaning:
“The attributes of permanence, perfection, and true greatness belong to Allah, along with allmy prayers and good deeds. Oh Messenger of Allah, may Allah give you peace and protection from all harm and may you receive Allah’s mercy and blessings. May Allah’speace and protection be with me and with all good people who worship God. I am a witnessand I testify that there is no god deserving of worship except the one true god Allah, and Iam a witness and I testify that Muhammad is Allah’s slave and Messenger.”
Prayer for the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him:
This prayer has many variations, some of which are longer than others. Here is one:“Oh Allah, give Your mercy to Muhammad and to the family of Muhammad as you were merciful to Ibraheem and the family of Ibraheem, and bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as you blessed Ibraheem and the family of Ibraheem. Oh Allah, out ofeverything that exists, You are deserving of all praise, and recognition of your greatness.”
In this prayer we are asking Allah to give His mercy and blessing to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. This is by having him honored in this world with the spread of his message and honored in the next by allowing him to lead his followers into Paradise. This prayer makes the connection back to Prophet Ibraheem, because he was blessed with the honor of having many prophets and generations of Muslims that descended from him.
Dua before concluding:
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, instructed that we can make any dua we want
before concluding our salah. In particular the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him,encouraged us to make a dua asking Allah’s protection from four things: from the punishment of Hell, from the punishment of the grave, from the tests of life and death, andfrom the harm of the anti-Christ.He would also sometimes prayer:
“O Allah, please give me Paradise and I seek your protection from Hell.”
“O Allah protect me from making small sins and from debt.”Note: A man commented to the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, that he was alwaysasking for protection from debt. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “When a man has a lot of debt, he starts to lie when he speaks –to make excuses- and he breakspromises.” (Abu Dawood).
When we conclude our salah we say, “As-salaam al-aikum wa-rahmatu Allah” (May youhave peace and Allah’s mercy) as we turn our heads to the right and to the left. The prayer is a visit with God. Now in concluding the visit, there is an acknowledgement of the angels tasked with writing our good deeds and bad deeds as we are about to get up and go about our regular activities. So we are not to forget our obligations to our creator as we go about the rest of our day.
May Allah accept our Salah and join us in Paradise.