Some Questions and Answers on Salah

Shaykh Salim Ghisa

I pray but my mind wanders off to things like football, TV, work etc. So is there any point of praying then?

Prayer is judged based on action as this is what a person can control. Of course a person's mind should be focused on what they are doing especially when it is worship.

However, Allah is the most Merciful and is fully aware that Shaitaan will try and discourage you from praying and therefore he will use all types of distraction.

Therefore a person should stick to their actions as this means you are worshipping Allah even though your desires are telling you otherwise, and InshaAllah you will be rewarded for your patience.

Slowly, these distractions will start to go away and one will obtain satisfaction, so one must not give up.

If I drink alcohol or take drugs should I still continue praying?

Even though it is completely haram to take drugs or alcohol and it is stated in a hadith that when a person consumes haram he will not obtain reward for 40 days, it still does not take away the obligation of praying salah etc. Therefore, by continuing to pray the major sin of not praying will at least be avoided.

What do you do if you're praying and suddenly break wind, do you carry on or break your salah?

As soon as one of the pre-conditions (i.e. in this case wudhu) is broken the salah is immediately broken. A person should leave his salah immediately (even though he may be in the very middle of a congregation) and perform wudhu and rejoin his prayers.

Can I read my salah in English - at least I know what I am reading then?

This is not permissible as performing salah has conditions which have to be met, such as praying in Arabic as the Quran has descended in Arabic and was performed this way by the beloved Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)

The best thing to do is to learn the meanings of the integrals of prayer and also some chapters of the Quran, so that when you pray in Arabic at least you can think in your mind what you are praying.

Can men pray their salah at home or do they need to pray at the mosque, and what if the mosque is far away?

It is necessary (wajib) to attend congregational prayer for men unless there is a valid religious excuse (as detailed in the books of Islamic Law).

If a person deliberately misses his prayers with congregation he will have committed a sin. However, if the mosque is very far away (regarded as well out of the area) and it would take a long time to get there, then one should try and establish congregation in their home with their family.

It has been stated in a hadith that congregational prayer carries 27 times more reward than a prayer prayed on its own [Bukhari]. However, a woman praying on her own will obtain the same reward as a man praying with congregation.

Sometimes I miss my salah because I'm busy doing something really important but I make qadha, is that OK?

There is nothing more important than establishing prayer within its allocated time as this is the direct command of Allah (swt). So a person should leave whatever they are doing and perform the prayer.

Even workplaces provide allocated places of prayer if you organise it properly. To deliberately make salah qadha is a major sin and carries heavy punishment.

However, if due to any circumstance a prayer has been missed then qadha is necessary. In addition to this a person must make repentance for making their prayer qadha.

If there is a drop of urine on my clothes, does this mean I am impure and must have a bath?

If urine is found on the clothes, body or place of prayer then the person is in the state of minor impurity. By removing the urine with water, the clothes, body or place will become clean and there is no need to have a bath.

In addition to this there are tolerable allowances of how much urine is on the clothes, body or place of prayer for it to be necessary to be cleaned immediately. These are as follows:

  • If urine is less in size than a £2 coin then it is sunnah to clean. I.e. The salah will count and does not need to be repeated, however the reward will be reduced unless there was no way of cleaning it off in time.
  • If the urine is the same size as a £2 coin then it is wajib to clean and therefore if prayed then the prayer will have to be repeated.
  • If the urine is more in size than a £2 coin then it is fardh to clean and salah will simply not count and must be prayed once the urine is cleaned off.

In all situations a bath is not necessary.

Why do people read salah in many different ways?

There are many different hadith relating to how the beloved Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) prayed his salah. The four Imams of jurisprudence have analysed all the various different hadith and formed an opinion on their expertise.

Their opinions differ and therefore, depending on which school of thought you follow, you will pray accordingly.