Jump to content

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Shi’a and Sunni Muslims are often easily distinguishable merely from the way that they each conduct their prayers. While there are small differences in the prayer rituals of each school, these differences have often been overstated due to misconceptions about the origin and meaning of these traditions.

This entry will seek clarify and explain some of these differences.

 

The Number of Prayer Units

Shi’a are regularly criticised for praying on three occasions per day as opposed to the usual five occasions observed by other Muslims. 

According to all Muslims, regardless of the school, there are certain circumstances which have allowed for prayers to be combined during the day. For most Sunnis such circumstances include travelling and even occasions such as the weather.

According to the Sunni jurist Imam Malik, if it rains, it is permissible to combine the Dhuhr and Asr prayers, and the Maghrib prayers with Isha prayers.

The Jurists of the Shi’a school have followed the explanation of the Prophet (s.a.w) and the Twelve Imams (s.a.w), who all state that combining the prayers is not contingent on a specific set of circumstances.

Therefore, whilst the number of times a day during which the Shi’a might pray is recognised as being either five or three distinct timings, the number of prayers, like all other Muslims, is actually five.

It must be stated, however, that to combine these prayers and recite them immediately after each other (in the case of Dhuhr and Asr and then Maghrib and Isha) is by no means an obligatory act for the Shi’a.  Rather it is viewed as one’s own personal choice, whether an individual prefers to combine the prayers or perform them separately. 

The Turbah of the Shi’a

Another misconception is that Shi’a worship a stone idol. This criticism is based on a lack of understanding of Shi’a Jurisprudence which stipulates that prostration during prayers must not be performed on anything other than natural elements from the earth which can neither be consumed nor worn, as such symbolism would reflect the worship of materialism.

This interpretation has prompted many Shi’a to adopt the convenience of praying to clay tablets, or Turbah (a clay tablet produced normally but not exclusively from the soil of the land of Karbala).

In the absence of the Turbah, Shi’a prostrate upon leaves or other natural objects.

The philosophy of prostrating on objects which are made from earth/clay is symbolic of mankind’s origin being from clay, the substance we were created from, and the substance we will return to once our bodies are buries after death.

It must be highlighted that the sole reason why most Turbahs are produced from the soil of Karbala, is the belief that this soil has immense spiritual value reminding one of the sacrifice of the Imam (a.s) at Karbala in the way of God, a dedication which the believer himself would hope to emulate in his prayers.

 

Qunut

Qunut literally means "being obedient" or "the act of standing" in Arabic. The word is usually used in reference to special supplicationsmade in certain prayers while in the standing posture.  During the second unit of every prayer, it is recommended for Shi’a to raise their hands in supplication after the recitation of the two chapters of the Qur’an. Whilst it may seem like an unfamiliar practice to some Muslims, several of the Sunni schools of Jurisprudence also share this practice which they restrict to only the Fajr prayer.

Sadl al-Yadayn

Sadl al-Yadayn is a practice which most obviously distinguishes the Shi’a prayers from those of most other Muslims. It refers to a movement performed during the prayer in the Qiyyam (standing up) position in which Shi’a place their hands to the sides of their body, as opposed to raising them and folding them at their chest in the Qabd al-Yadayn position as other Muslims do.  

It is worth highlighting that Shi’a are not the only Muslims who pray in the form of Sadl al-Yadayn, but rather a large majority of the Maliki school of Sunni jurisprudence (primarily concentrated in North Africa) have also traditionally prayed in such a way. Crossing the arms in prayer was initiated by the second Caliph who observed Persian prisoners crossing their arms as a sign of respect when brought before him and decided to implement it in Salat. 

For the adherents of the Ja’fari school of thought, they justify such actions by stating that all of the above practises can be traced back to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) and the Imams (a.s).

These rituals are also endorsed by Sunni jurist Malik b. Anas, who points out that the people of the Holy City of Madinah, where the Prophet (s.a.w) established the first Islamic Capital, used to pray in this way. Hence, according to his logic, this was the most original form of prayer as the inhabitants were taught by their parents who were contemporaries of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w).

 

The Three Takabir

Whilst not technically a part of the prayer, which ends upon the recitation of the Taslim at the end of the Tashahud, Shi’a are recommended to raise ones hands up from their knees three times and recite the Takbir or “Allahu Akbar” three times.

Sadly, this has caused some confusion for some non-Shi’a who have suspected that the Shi’a are reciting something else. However anyone who observes the Shi’a daily prayers will notice that the recited formula during this practice is nothing more than to testify to the greatness of God, three times.

This practice is recommended in numerous narrations of the Imams and has become a recommended ritual which immediately follows the daily prayers.

Conclusion

There are numerous observable differences between the prayers of the Shi’a and the prayers of other schools of Jurisprudence. However, it is crucial to note that despite the above, the difference which distinguish the Shi’a prayer from other schools of jurisprudence are in no way larger than the difference which occur between the four Sunni schools of Jurisprudence themselves.

It is also crucial to highlight the fact that the differences in these prayers are due to scholarly differences in attempting to return to the pristine Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w). Shi’a prayers have been taught to the Shi’a via the Twelve Imams (a.s), whom the Shi’a believe would naturally be the best people to make recourse to in uncovering the authentic Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

many things in sunni salah are innovations as well, such as "asalatu khayrum minan nawm"

https://sunnah.com/malik/3/8

Quote

Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that the muadhdhin came to Umar ibn al-Khattab to call him to the subh prayer and found him sleeping, so he said, "Prayer is better than sleep," and Umar ordered him to put that in the adhan for subh .

the shia follow the sunnah of the prophet, the sunni follow the sunnah of omar. this is why we are different

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Atrivz said:

Are you also going to curse the companions ?

I dont swear at companions. The dust from their shoes is the kohl for my eyes.

I swear at the arab munafiqs described in surah 63 of the quran and I do that all the time bruv. just not here because its against the forum rules.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Ron_Burgundy said:

Crossing the arms in prayer was initiated by the second Caliph who observed Persian prisoners crossing their arms as a sign of respect when brought before him and decided to implement it in Salat.

Do you have any proof of this? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, AliAlsaidy said:

Do you have any proof of this? 

 Hazrat Omer introduces fold hands way for Namaz in his Khilafat Period. Book name is Al-Farooq written by Allama Shibly Nomani.

Edited by Ron_Burgundy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ron_Burgundy said:

 Hazrat Omer introduces fold hands way for Namaz in his Khilafat Period. Book name is Al-Farooq written by Allama Shibly Nomani.

السلام عليكم

It seems that this scholar lived in the 20th century, and therefore, we would really need to know what his evidence was based on, because it can't possibly be historical reports...

I would love the page number though from the book if you have it جزاك الله خيرا.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, haideriam said:

Other than the Mustahbat I think there is practically no difference for some sunni also pray with open hands. 

We are talking of salah only

From my understanding, Ja'faris don't recite al-Fatiha in the third and fourth rak'ah?  That would negate the prayer for the four madhhabs, and possibly the Zaydis as well.

It would be very interesting to list what is obligatory in Ja'fari school, and compare it with the four madhhabs and see if it is possible to pray together, and if there are any accommodations that can be done by the Imam if it is a Ja'fari leading non-Ja'faris or vice versa.

If anyone would like to collaborate with me on this I would love to do it @Haydar Husayn @uponthesunnah @qa'im

Edited by Cyrax

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Haydar Husayn @uponthesunnah

@Qa'im@Cyrax

 

Maliki

Shafi�I

Hanbali

Hanafi

Imami

Al-Fatiha (Opening Chapter of the Qur�an)

reciting Surat al-Fatihah is necessary in every rak'ah, without there being any difference in this regard between the earlier and later rak'ahs and between fard and mustahabb salats

The Shafi'is state: Surat al-Fatihah is wajib in every rak'ah, without there being any difference in this regard between the first two rak'ahs and the other rak'ahs and between wajib and mustahabb salats. The bismillah is a part of the surah and cannot be omitted in any circumstance.

The Hanbalis consider al-Fatihah to be wajib in even rak'ah, and to recite a surah after it in the first two rak'ahs as mustahabb.

It is not compulsory to recite only Surat al-Fa-tihah in the daily obligatory salats, and anything recited from the Qur'an may take its place, because God the Exalted, says: 'Therefore recite of the Qur'an so much as is feasible' (73:20) It is valid to skip the bismillah because it is not a part of any surah.

Reciting Surat al-Fatihah is necessary in the first two rak'ahs of every salat and no other surah can replace it.

But it is not wajib in the third rak'ah of maghrib and the last two rak'ahs of four-rak'ah prayers; rather, one has an option between it and tasbih, though even once is sufficient. It is wajib to recite another complete surah in the first two rak'ahs, and the bismillah is a part of the surahs which cannot be omitted in any circumstance.

Loudness of Prayers

Reciting aloud is mustahabb in the morning prayer and the first two rak'ahs of maghrib and 'isha' prayers.

The recitation should be aloud in the morning prayer and the first two rak'ahs of maghrib and 'isha' prayers; the remaining recitals are to be in a low voice.

The morning prayer and the first two rak'ahs of maghrib and 'isha' prayers are to be recited aloud.

Neither reciting aloud nor in a low voice are mustahabb, and a performer praying alone is free to recite in a voice that he alone can hear or in a voice hearable to others.

It is wajib to recite aloud only the surahs and not the other recitations in the morning prayer and the first two rak'ahs of maghrib and 'isha' prayers. except for the bismillah, the recitation in zuhr and asr prayers is to be done in a low voice in their first two rak'ahs and also in the third rak'ah of maghrib and the last two rak'ahs of 'isha' prayers.

Qunut

Qunut is to be recited only in the morning prayer.

The qunut is mustahabb only in the morning prayer, and is to be performed after rising from the ruku of the second rakah.

Qunut is to be recited in Salat al-watr and not in any other salat.

?

Qunut is mustahabb in the five daily prayers and its place is the second rak'ah after the recital of the surahs and before ruku'.

Takkatuf

Takattuf is valid in their opinion, though it is mustahabb to keep the hands hanging freely in the fard prayers.

Takattuf is not wajib but a sunnah for both the sexes, and its preferable form is to place the right hand palm on the back of the left hand between the chest and the navel and towards the left side.

Takattuf is a sunnah for both men and women and its preferable form is to place the right hand palm on the back of the left hand below the navel.

As to takattuf, it is masnun (a sunnah) but it is not wajib, and its preferable form is for a man to place the palm of his right hand on the back of his left hand, and for a woman to place her hands on her chest.

takattuf (putting hands over each other) renders the salat invalid (batil) because there is no explicit text (nass) in support of it. However, some of them say: Takattuf is haram and the one who does it has committed sin, though his salat is not invalid. A third group from among them observe: It is makruh (discouraged) and not haram.

Ru�ku (Bowing)

It is not obligatory to recite anything during ruku', though it is sunnah that the performer say: "Sub-hana Rabbl al-'azim.

It is not obligatory to recite anything during ruku', though it is sunnah that the performer say: "Sub-hana Rabbl al-'azim.

Obligatoryt say tasbih during ruku' and its formula in the opinion of the Hanbalis is "Subhana Rabi al-'azim

It is not obligatory to recite anything during ruku', though it is sunnah that the performer say: "Sub-hana Rabbl al-'azim.

Obligatoryt say tasbih during ruku' and its formula is Subhana Rabbi al-'azim wa bi hamdih" or just SubhanAllah" thrice.

The Hanafis say: It is not obligatory to return to the standing position after ruku', and it is sufficient, though makruh (discouraged), to perform sajdah (prostration) straight-away. The other schools consider it obligatory to return to the standing position and mustahabb to recite the tasmi', which is to say: "Sami 'allahu li man hamidah" (God hears one who praises Him). According to the Imamis, it is obligatory to stay motionless in this standing (qiyyam) too.

sujud (prostration) is obligatory twice in each rak'ah.

It is obligatory to lay only the forehead on the ground in sujud, and laying down the other parts is encouraged (mustahabb).

It is obligatory to lay only the forehead on the ground in sujud, and laying down the other parts is encouraged (mustahabb).

It is obligatory to lay on the ground all the seven parts while

performing sujud. It has been narrated from the Hanbalis that they add the nose to these seven, thus making them eight.

It is obligatory to lay only the forehead on the ground in sujud, and laying down the other parts is encouraged (mustahabb).

It is obligatory to lay on the ground all the seven parts while

performing sujud.

Tashahhud is at most recited twice in salat; the first, after the second rak'ah of zuhr, 'asr. maghrib and 'isha' prayers, which is not followed by taslim; the second in the last rak'ah of the two-, three-, and four- rak'ah prayers, which is followed by taslim. The Imamis and the Hanbalis state: The first tashahhud is obligatory. The remaining schools consider it mustahabb and not obligatory. The second tashahhud is considered obligatory by the Shafi'is, Imamis and Hanbalis, and mustahabb by the Malikis and Hanafis

Attahiyyatu lillah, azzakiyyatu lillah, attayyibatu assalawatu lillah. Assalamu alayka ayyuha annabiyyu warahmatu allahi wabarakatuhu, assalamu alayna wa 'ala 'abadi Allahi assaliheena, ash-hadu anna la ilaha illa Allah, wa ash-hadu anna muhammadan 'abduhu warasuluhu.

"Attahiyyatu almubarakatu assalawatu attayyibatu lillah, assalamu 'alayka ayyuha annabiyyu warahmatu allahi wabarakatuhu, assalamu alayna wa 'ala 'abadi allahi assalaiheena. Ash-hadu anna la ilaha illa Allah, wa ash-hadu anna sayyidana muhammadan rasulu Allah."

"Attahiyyatu lillahi wa-assalawatu wa-attayyibatu. assalamu 'alayka ayyuha annabiyyu warahmatu allahi wabarakatuhu, assalamu alayna wa 'ala 'abadi allahi assalaiheena. Ash-hadu anna la ilaha illa Allah, wahdahu la shareekalah, wa ash-hadu anna sayyidana muhammadan 'abduhu wa- rasuluhu. Allahumma salli ala Muhammadin."

"attahiyyatu lillahi wassalawatu wattayyibatu wassalamu 'alayka ayyuha annabiyyu warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu, assalamu 'alayna wa 'ala `abadillahi assaliheena, ash-hadu anna la ilaha illa Allah, waAsh-hadu anna Mohammmedan 'abduhu warasuluhu."

"Ash-hadu anna la ilaha illa Allah, wahdahu la shareeka lah, wa ash- hadu anna muhammadan 'abduhu wa-rasuluhu. Allahumma salli ala Muhammadin wa 'ali Muhammed."

Tasleem (Farewell)

Tasleem is obligatory.

Tasleem is obligatory.

Tasleem is obligatory.

The Hanafis do not consider it obligatory

The Imamis differ among themselves, a group considers it obligatory, while others regard it as mustahabb

Formula for Tasleem

Assalamu alaikum warahmatu Allah

Assalamu alaikum warahmatu Allah

Assalamu alaikum warahmatu Allah

(obligatory twice)

Assalamu alaikum warahmatu Allah

Tasleem (farewell) consists of two formulas; the first is: "Assalamu alaina wa 'ala 'abadi allahi assaliheen".

The second: "Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatu allahi wa barakatuh". One of them is obligatory. Hence if a person recites the former, the latter will be mustahabb, and if he recites the latter, he will stop at it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Cyrax said:

From my understanding, Ja'faris don't recite al-Fatiha in the third and fourth rak'ah?  That would negate the prayer for the four madhhabs, and possibly the Zaydis as well.

It is optional.

2 hours ago, Cyrax said:

It would be very interesting to list what is obligatory in Ja'fari school, and compare it with the four madhhabs and see if it is possible to pray together, and if there are any accommodations that can be done by the Imam if it is a Ja'fari leading non-Ja'faris or vice versa.

There are of course issues of who leads the prayer. The four madhhabs would not pray behind one another in Mecca until the 1930s, and most of our scholars have issues with praying behind a Sunni imam.

There are issues of wudu; both branches would consider the other's wudu to be invalid.

Sadl is valid according to many Sunni jurists, but qabd is invalid according to most Shi`i jurists.

The basmala would need to be recited out loud. Shafi`i would recite it out loud in the loud prayers, and quietly in the quiet prayers; while in Shiism it is recited out loud in all prayers. If I recall correctly, this was also the position of a Sunni school in Iraq that did not survive (I will double check this inshaAllah).

The ameen after the Fatiha is not valid in Ja`fari salat.

Another major issue is the taHiyyat, which are recited by Sunnis after the second rak`a, and recited by Shi`as only at the end of the salat (as-salaamu `alayku ayyuhan-nabi...)

As for issues that are reconcilable: Sunnis can do sujud on earthly material, Shi`as can recite the Fatiha in the third and fourth rak`a (silently), Shi`as can recite the takbeer after the tashahud before the third rak`a. I have seen some people try to find the most reconciliatory prayer between the two sects, but it's just not feasible due to the issues I mentioned above. It's also poor epistemology - both sects base their prayers off of different criteria and methods, it does not make sense to then merge their results.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×