To make up for a missed unit(s) (rak’ah) of prayer

When a person joins a congregation after it has commenced, the first complete unit that he gets to offer as a part of the congregation should be considered as the first unit of that individual’s prayer. The additional units that are made up following the completion of congregational prayers should be offered according to their respective sequence in that individual’s prayer.

For example, if a person misses the first two units of Maghrib prayer and joins in the last (3rd) unit after the imam’s salaam, he should pray two additional units the first of which will be really the second unit of his prayer and he should as such sit down to do the witnessing (tashahhud) after the prostrations (sajdah).

When is the congregation (جماعة) considered captured

In a situation where no sooner a person starts prayer by standing up, saying Allahu Akbar and sitting down to join a congregation, the imam ends the prayer with salaam, it is still as if he has prayed as a part of the congregation provided that the imam has not uttered Assalamu Alaikum even to the extent of “Assalam” before he joins.  He can continue the salaah by standing up preferably after reciting tashahhud.

In a situation where a person says Allahu Akbar to join the imam and the Imam ends his prayer by saying salaam, he need not sit down and should continue his prayer. Again it is as if he prayed with the congregation.

However when a person joins a congregation after the first Assalamu Alaikum has been said even so much as ‘Assalam’ he will not be considered to have prayed with the congregation.

 

Method of Bowing (Rukoo’)

Hanafi scholars agree on the method of bowing.

Gently grasping the knees but not actually gripping it tightly while the head and the back should remain at horizontal level (to one’s ability).

Arms are kept straight without bending the elbows away from one’s side.

Legs are kept straight without bending the knees.

Gaze should be fixed between the feet during Rukoo’ keeping the head at the level.

 

Excessive Movements During Prayers

Jurists have declared that If one moves about three steps or more in succession, then his prayer becomes invalid.

If one moves less than three steps or four to five steps but at different intevals then it does not invalidate the prayer. This ruling is for both compulsory and extra prayers [1].

In instances when in congregation the row in front is to be completed, one should fill the spot with two strides. It doesn’t invalidate the prayers.

[1] Tuhfa 2:491

 

Negligence in resting the toes on the floor during prostration

The prostration (Sajdah) according to Sunnah is done by placing one’s forehead, nose tip, both palms, knees and toes on the ground. There has been slackness in this in the last century or so.

The ruling will be different in varied situations, as summarised below:

  • People who do not rest toes of both the feet on the floor and instead keep them hovering during whole of prostration – their prayer becomes invalid. They must repeat it.
  • Those people who rest the toes on the floor only momentarily their prayer is disliked (makrooh).
  • Likewise those who rest the toes of only one foot, their prayer is disliked (makrooh).
  • To rest only the tip of the toes on the floor is against the Prophetic practice (sunnah).

Toes during prostration should be extended such that they point in the direction of the Ka’bah (Qibla) whenever possible.