The Nine Conditions for Prayer
Prayer (excerpts taken from Explanation of Important Lessons
For Every Muslim)
by Abdul-Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz
The Conditions For Prayer
There are nine conditions or requisites for prayer: Islam, sanity, (the age of) discernment, the removal of Hadath, removal of any impurity, the covering of one’s Awrah (any area of that body the must be covered), the entrance of its time, facing the Qiblah, and intention.
In Arabic, the conditions are called Shuroot, the plural of Shart, which linguistically means a sign. However, in the Shari’ah, it has another meaning: When it is nonexistent it necessitates nonexistence, but when it is existent, it does not necessitate existence. Put more simply, if there is no purity, then there is no prayer, but if one is pure, it is not necessarily the case that he has to pray (at the specific moment). And by the conditions of prayer, we are referring to those conditions upon which the correctness of one’s prayer depends.
The Nine Conditions For Prayer:
1) Islam, the opposite of which is disbelief (kufr). The disbeliever’s actions are rejected, no matter what deed it is he performs, for Allah Almighty says:
It is not for the polytheists to maintain the Masjids of Allah, while they witness against their own selves of disbelief. The works of such are in vain and in Fire shall they abide. (At-Tawbah 9:17)
And in another verse, Allah Almighty says:
And We shall turn whatever deeds they (disbelievers) did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust. (Al-Furqan 25:23)
The only prayer that is accepted is the Muslim’s prayer, a reality that is proven by this verse:
And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the hereafter he will be one of the losers. (Aal ‘Imran 3:85
2) Sanity, the opposite of which is obviously insanity or madness. The Pen is raised for the insane person, which means that he is not held accountable for his deeds until he returns to his sense. The Messenger of Allah said:
The Pen has been raised from three: the one who is sleeping, until he awakens; the insane person, until he returns to his senses; and the child, until he reaches puberty.
Recorded by Ahmad in his Musnad, and Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah.
3) The age of discernment, the opposite of which is early childhood years. The age of discernment is realized at the age of seven, the time when a child must be ordered to pray, for the Messenger of Allah said:
Order your sons to pray when they turn seven, and hit them (if they refuse) when they turn ten, and at that time, make them sleep in separate beds.
Recorded by Al-Hakim, Imam Ahmad, and Abu Dawud, and in one version it is: Order your children……
4) The removal of Hadath, and there are two kinds of Hadath; (i) the greater one, (ii) the lessor one. The former includes menstruation and sexual intercourse; one purifies himself from these forms of Hadath by performing Ghusl. An example of the latter is the passing of wind, and this form of Hadath is removed by ablution; the Messenger of Allah said:
Allah does not accept prayer without purification. (Recorded by Muslim and others)
He also said:
Allah does not accept the prayer of one in a state of Hadath until he performs ablution. (Agreed upon)
5) The removal of impurities from three: from one’s body, from one’s clothing, and from the place one prays in
And your garments purify! (Al-Muddaththir 74:4)
Purify yourselves from urine because verily, it is the most common reason for punishment in the grave.
6) The covering of of one’s Awrah (any area of the body that must be covered) with clothing that doesn’t reveal one’s shape, skin, or complexion. The Messenger of Allah said:
Allah does not accept the prayer of a women who has reached the age of menstruation unless she wears a veil. (Recorded by Abu Dawud)
The people of knowledge concur that if one is able to wear clothes, but prays naked instead, then his prayer is invalid. The Awrah for a man, or the area of his body that must be covered, is the area between his belly button and his knees, and the same goes for the female slave. The ‘Awrah of the free women is her entire body except for her face, and even that must be covered when she is in the presence of strange men. In a Hadith related by Salmah bin Al-Akwa’, the Messenger of Allah ordered him to cover himself, even if he had only one garment to accomplish that. And Allah Almighty says:
O children of Adam! Take your adornment to every Masjid. (Al-A’raf 7:31)
That means, for the prayer.
7) The entrance of the prayer’s time. The proof for this condition is taken from the Hadith of Jibril, peace be upon him, wherein he led the Prophet in each prayer, once at the beginning of the time for each prayer, and then at the end of its time. He said, ” O Muhammad, the prayer is between these two times,” Allah Almighty says:
Verily, the prayer is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours. (An-Nisa 4:103)
Perform As-Salat from midday till the darkness of the night, and recite the Qur’an in the early dawn. Verily, the recitation of the Qur’an in the early dawn is ever witnessed (attended by the angels in charge of mankind of the day and the night). (Al-Isra’ 17:78)
8 ) Facing the Qiblah:
Verily! We have seen the turning of your face towards the heaven. Surely, We shall turn you a Qiblah (prayer direction) that shall please you, so turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid Al-Haram (in Makkah). And wherever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction. (Al-Baqarah 2:144)
9) Intention: it resides in the heart and its utterance is an innovation. The Prophet said:
Indeed, deeds are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended.