THE PREREQUISITES OF SALAAT
1. Before commencing with salaat, several things are wajib. If one does not
have wudu, then wudu should be made. If there is a need to have a bath, then a
bath should be taken. If there is any impurity on the body or clothes, it should
be purified. The place where salaat is being offered should also be pure. Apart
from the face, hands and feet, the entire body from head to toe should be well
covered. One should face the qiblah. An intention should be made for the salaat
which one wishes to offer. The salaat should be offered after the entry of that
salaat time. All these are prerequisites or conditions for salaat. If any one of
these prerequisites are not found, salaat will not be valid.
2. It is not permissible to offer salaat with a very thin, flimsy or lacy scarf.
3. If a quarter of a woman’s calf, thigh or arm gets exposed while offering
salaat and it remains exposed to the extent that she can read Sub’haanallah
three times; then her salaat will break and she will have to repeat it. But if
she covers that part the moment it is exposed, her salaat will still be valid.
In the same way, if a quarter of any part that is supposed to be covered when
offering salaat gets exposed, then the salaat will not be valid. For example, if
a quarter of the ear, head, hair, stomach, back, neck, bosom, chest, etc. gets
exposed; then the salaat will not be valid.
4. If the scarf of a girl who has not reached the age of puberty as yet slips
off while offering salaat and her head gets exposed, her salaat will still be
5. If there is any impurity on the body or clothing but water cannot be found
anywhere, then the salaat should be offered with the impurity.
6. If the entire clothing is impure, or most of it is impure,i.e. less than a
quarter of it is pure and the balance of it is impure, then in such a case one
could either offer the salaat while wearing those impure clothes or remove those
clothes and offer the salaat while naked. However, it is preferable to offer the
salaat with the impure clothes. If a quarter or more of the clothes are pure, it
will not be permissible to offer the salaat naked. It will be wajib to offer the
salaat in those impure clothes.
7. If a person offering salaat is wrapped in a sheet which is so large that its
impure section does not move about with the standing and sitting movements of
the person, then there is no harm in it. Similarly, the thing which a person
offering salaat is carrying also has to be pure. This is on the condition that
it does not hold on to the person of its own accord. For example, a person
offering salaat is carrying a child and that child did not come onto him out of
its own accord, then it is a prerequisite that the child be also pure for the
validity of salaat. If that child’s clothing or body is impure to an extent
which does not permit salaat, then in such a case, that person’s salaat will not
be valid. But if that child sits on him or clings to him of its own accord, then
there is no harm in this because the child sat on him of its own accord and of
its own will. So this impurity on the child will be attributed to the child and
will not be connected to the person offering salaat.
Similarly, if there is such an impurity on the person offering salaat which is
still in its actual place of formation and whose traces have not come outside as
yet, then there is no harm in this. For example, a dog comes and sits on the
person offering salaat and there is no saliva coming out of its mouth – there is
no harm in this. This is so because its saliva is inside its body, and that is
where it is formed. It is the same as that impurity which is in the stomach of
man and for which purity is not a prerequisite.
Similarly, if there is an egg whose yolk has turned into blood and it is on the
person offering salaat, there is no harm in this. This is so because its blood
is in that very place from where it was formed and its effect has not come out
On the contrary, if urine has been filled in a bottle and it is on the person
offering salaat, then this is not proper even if the bottle is completely
sealed. This is so because this urine is not in its actual place of formation.
8. The place on which salaat is being offered has to be pure of all impurities
(such as urine, stool, semen, etc.). However, if the impurity is of an excusable
amount, there is no harm in this. The “place on which salaat is being offered”
refers to that place where the feet are placed and also those places which touch
the ground when in sajdah, i.e. wherever the knees, hands, forehead and nose are
9. If the place of only one foot is pure and the person lifts his other foot,
this will be sufficient.
10. If a person is offering salaat on a piece of cloth, even then the same
extent as mentioned above will have to be pure. It is not necessary for the
entire piece of cloth to be pure. This is irrespective of whether the cloth is
big or small.
11. If a cloth is spread out over an impure place and salaat is offered on it,
then it is also a prerequisite that the cloth must not be so thin that whatever
is under it can be clearly seen.
12. If the clothing of a person offering salaat touches any impure place which
is dry, there is no harm in this.
13. If a person has no clothes at all, he should offer his salaat naked.
However, the salaat should be offered at such a place where no one can see him.
Furthermore, the salaat should not be offered standing, but sitting; and he
should make gestures (ishaarah) for the ruku and sajdah. But if he offers his
salaat while standing and even goes down for his ruku and sajdah, his salaat
will still be valid. However, it is preferable to offer the salaat sitting.
14. If a person is excused from wearing clothes because of some reason which has
been caused by a human being, he will have to repeat his salaat when this excuse
is no more. For example, a person is in prison and the wardens have removed his
clothes, an enemy has removed his clothes or an enemy tells him that if you wear
your clothes I will kill you – in all the above cases he will have to repeat his
salaat. But if it is not because of a human being, he does not have to repeat
his salaat. For example, if he has no clothes at all.
15. A person has only one piece of cloth and has the choice of either covering
himself or spreading it on the floor and offering salaat on it. He should rather
cover himself with it and offer salaat on the impure place if no clean place can
16. A person is travelling and has so little water that if he had to wash off
the impurity he will not have sufficient water for wudu. And if he had to make
wudu first, he will not have sufficient water to wash off the impurity. Such a
person should utilise the water to wash off the impurity and make tayammum for
17. A person offered zuhr salaat. On completing his salaat, he realized that the
zuhr time had already expired and asr time had already entered. He will not have
to make qada of that salaat. The salaat which he had offered will come under the
rule of qada and it will be considered to be a qada salaat.
18. But if he offered a salaat even before the entry of its time, it will not be
19. It is not necessary to make a verbal intention. If a person thinks in his
heart that I am reading the fard of zuhr for today, or if it is a sunnah, then I
am reading the sunnah of zuhr; then this will be sufficient. All those lengthy
intentions which are popular among the people are not necessary at all.
20. If one wants to make a verbal intention, it is sufficient to say thus: I am
making intention for todays fard of zuhr, or, I am making intention for the
sunnah of zuhr. To say: I am reading four rakaats for zuhr salaat, facing the
qiblah, etc. is not necessary. If one wishes, he could say so, if not, then he
does not have to.
21. In his heart a person has the intention of zuhr salaat, but when he utters
his intention, he mistakenly says asr salaat. Even then his salaat will be
22. If he mistakenly says six rakaats or three rakaats instead of four rakaats,
his salaat will still be valid.
23. If a person has missed several salaats and decides to make qada of them, he
should specify the time of the salaat when making his intention. That is, he
should make intention in this way: I am offering the fard of fajr salaat. If it
is the qada of zuhr, then he should say: I am offering the fard of zuhr salaat.
In the same way, he should make the intention of whichever salaat he wishes to
make qada of. If in his intention he merely said: I am offering qada salaat, and
did not specify which salaat it is, then this qada will not be valid. It will
have to be repeated.
24. If salaat of several days has been missed, one should also specify the day
and date when making the intention. For example, a person missed the salaats of
Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. When making his intention it will not be
proper for him to merely say that he is making qada of fajr salaat. Instead he
will have to make intention in the following way: I am making qada for the fajr
salaat of Saturday. When zuhr time comes, he must say: I am making qada for the
zuhr salaat of Saturday. In this way he should continue making intention. Once
he completes making the qada of all the salaats of Saturday, he should say: I am
making the qada for the fajr salaat of Sunday. In this way he should offer all
his qada salaats. If he is making qada for several months or years, he should
also specify the month and year and say: I am offering the qada of fajr salaat
of a particular day in a particular month and in a particular year. Without
saying it in this way, the intention will not be correct.
25. If a person does not remember the date, month or year, he should make his
intention as follows: Of all the fajr salaats that I have to make qada of, I am
making qada of the first one that I had missed, or, of all the zuhr salaats that
I have to make qada of, I am making qada of the first one that I had missed. He
should make his intention in this way and continue offering his qada salaat.
Once the heart is satisfied that qada of all the missed salaats has been made,
he can stop offering qada salaat.
26. For sunnah, nafl and taraweeh salaats; it will be sufficient to merely say:
I am offering salaat. It will be proper even if he does not mention whether it
is a sunnah or nafl salaat. However, caution demands that he makes a specific
intention for the sunnah of taraweeh salaat.
27. It is a prerequisite for the muqtadi to make the intention of following the
28. As for the imam, he has to make intention for his own salaat only and does
not have to make an intention for imaamat. But if a woman wishes to follow him
in salaat, and she is standing in line with the men, and the salaat is not a
janaazah, jumu’ah, or eid salaat, then in order for her iqtidaa to be correct,
he will have to make the intention of imaamat for her. But if she is not
standing in line with the men, or the salaat is a janaazah, jumu’ah, or eid
salaat; then this will not be a prerequisite.
29. The muqtadi does not have to specify the imam by name, that he is following
Zayd or Umar. Instead, it is sufficient for him to say that I am offering salaat
behind this imam. If he specifies the imam by name, and later learns that he was
someone else then his salaat will not be valid. For example, a person made
intention that he is offering salaat behind Zayd when in actual fact the imam is
Khalid, then this person’s salaat will not be valid.
30.The following intention should be made for the janaazah salaat: I am offering
this salaat for the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala and as a dua for this deceased
person. But if the person does not know whether the deceased is a male or
female, it will be sufficient for him to say: For whomever my imam is offering
this salaat, I am also offering it.
According to some ulama, the correct procedure is that apart from fard and wajib
salaats, it is sufficient to make a general intention for all the other salaats.
It is not necessary to specify that it is a sunnah or mustahab salaat. Nor is it
necessary to specify that the sunnah is for fajr time or zuhr time, or that this
sunnah is tahajjud, taraweeh, kusuf or khusuf. However, the preferred opinion is
that one should make a specific intention.